Do you know the difference between Lowland meadows and Lowland calcareous grassland ? If not then read on, as Sarah Smyth of Scottish Natural Heritage reveals how the art of habitat definition is undergoing a transformation.
In Scotland we have many of the 65 UK BAP habitats found in the UK – there are subtle differences between these habitats and each habitat supports a range of important species.
Some can be widespread throughout Scotland found from the lowlands to high tops – some are very restricted in their distribution.
A team of habitat specialists has been working for the last few years trying to capture the essence of these habitats and describe them in a clear easy to understand way. The habitat definitions project has for the first time pulled together a ‘pen portrait’ for each of the 19 broad habitat types as well as the 39 associated priority habitats
Each habitat description tells us what exactly the habitat is, including the characteristic species that make up the habitat as well as species that are typically found there. There is information describing how you would recognise it and some of the key differences between the habitat and other similar habitats. The geographical distribution of the habitat is outlined as well as the qualities that make it so important and special.
There are useful guides on how to manage it and a range of further information specific to each habitat.
It is our intention that these are working documents so please take a look if there is something you disagree with or something we have overlooked please do get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think.
This work complements the recent publication of the Manual of terrestrial EUNIS habitats in Scotland which defines our habitats in a European context.
It is anticipated that a series of look up tables will also be produced and will be published on the Biodiversity Scotland website shortly.
Read more about Habitat definitions @ http://www.biodiversityscotland.gov.uk/advice-and-resources/habitat-definitions/