County Wildife Site Criteria for Cornwall - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

County Wildife Site Criteria for Cornwall - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

COUNTY WILDLIFE SITE CRITERIA FOR CORNWALLCONTENTS1 Introduction 12 Context and Background 22.1 Cornwall’s Biological Heritage 22.2 Sites of National and International Importance 22.3 Sites of Local Importance 32.4 Background to County Wildlife Sites in Cornwall 33 County Wildlife Site Selection 43.1 The Role of Ratcliffe’s Primary and Secondary Attributes 43.1.1 Application of Ratcliffe’s Primary Attributes 53.1.2 Application of Ratcliffe’s Secondary Attributes 63.2 Guiding Principles for County Wildlife Site Selection 73.3 Procedures for County Wildlife Site Selection 83.4 Site Boundaries 94 Criteria for County Wildlife Site Selection in Cornwall 104.1 Criteria for BAP Priority Habitats 124.2 Criteria for Local Habitats 244.3 Criteria for Species Groups 27BIBLIOGRAPHY 29APPENDICESAppendix 1 – A List of County Wildlife Sites in CornwallAppendix 2 – The Selection of Local Sites by SizeAppendix 3 – Example of a County Wildlife Site Summary SheetAppendix 4 – Information Relating to Priority Habitat TypesAppendix 5 – Information Relating to Local Habitat TypesAppendix 6 – Information Relating to Species GroupsAppendix 7 – Protocol for Amending County Wildlife Site Boundaries (DRAFT)County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage iii

2. CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND2.1 Cornwall’s Biological HeritageCornwall is a county strongly influenced by the sea. Itforms a peninsula jutting westwards into the Atlantic,and is almost an island, separated from the rest of thecountry by the River Tamar. No part of Cornwall ismore than 24km from the coast; most is much less.The result is a maritime climate with cool summers,mild winters, salt-laden and often gale-force windsand above average rainfall. These factors, combinedwith the county’s varied geology, all contribute to thecharacteristic landscape and the wealth of biodiversitythat make Cornwall so special.The biodiversity of the county is as varied as thelandscape, ranging from the rugged north coast cliffsand beaches with nesting seabirds and breeding greyseals, to the sheltered south coast rias; home to ottersand abundant marine life. Habitats range from the wildrugged expanse of the moors and heaths of Bodmin,Penwith and The Lizard, through agricultural landscapescriss-crossed by unique Cornish hedges, to the AncientWoodlands and parklands of central and east Cornwall.Industry has had an influence too, seen in the oldmetal mining landscapes and ‘china clay country’, nowre-colonising with distinctive assemblages of rare plantsand animals.Historically, species information in Cornwall has beengathered by a number of dedicated individuals andorganisations, and these records, combined with morerecent habitat mapping projects and recorder effort,have enabled an assessment of the status and trendsof habitats and species in Cornwall to be made, andappropriate conservation measures to be put in place.2.2 Sites of National and International ImportanceThe national government body concerned withnature conservation, Natural England, notifies thoseareas of land that it considers to be of special natureconservation interest. These are known as Sites ofSpecial Scientific Interest (SSSIs), although it is generallyrecognised that the word ‘scientific’ is too restrictive aterm. Broadly speaking these areas are considered to beof regional or national significance. There are currently141 SSSIs in Cornwall, protected under the provision ofthe Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).In addition, 17 sites of European importance have beenrecognised and designated under the Conservationof Habitats and Species Regulations (2010), whichimplement the European Habitats Directive (1992). TheHabitats Directive requires all member states to createa network of specially protected wildlife sites acrossthe European Union, as part of a range of measuresaimed at conserving important and threatened habitatsand species. This network consists of Special Areasof Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas(SPAs).All terrestrial SACs in England are already SSSIs; theadditional SAC designation recognises that their habitatsare of European importance. 13 of the terrestrial SSSIsin Cornwall have been designated as SACs. At sea,where there are no SSSIs, 2 sites have been recognisedas of European marine nature conservation importanceand given marine SAC status, and a further 3 sites haverecently been designated as candidate SACs. The Marineand Coastal Access Act 2009 has introduced newlegislation for the designation of ‘Marine ConservationZones’; the designation process is ongoing.SPAs are designated under the Birds Directive (2009)to provide a framework for the conservation andmanagement of wild birds in Europe. 2 sites in Cornwallhave been designated as SPAs for rare and migratorybirds.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 2

2.3 Sites of Local ImportanceThe system of statutory sites protects representativesamples of the nation’s most important wildlife andgeological sites; not every site of interest is included.Therefore, to safeguard the County’s biodiversity andgeodiversity, wildlife in the wider environment needs alevel of recognition and protection.County Wildlife Sites across England provide acomprehensive system of sites that give a refuge to mostof the nation’s flora and fauna through their connectingand buffering qualities. They represent local characterand distinctiveness and complement other site networks.2.4 Background to County Wildlife Sites in CornwallThe need for a County Wildlife Sites system has alwaysbeen recognised, and the recent report 'Making Spacefor Nature' (Lawton et al., 2010) stresses the importanceof Local Sites in establishing a coherent and resiliantecological network. This report was submitted to theSecretary of State in September 2010.Between 1980 and 1985, Cornwall Wildlife Trust(previously called The Cornwall Naturalists Trust andthen the Cornwall Trust for Nature Conservation)implemented systematic identification and detailedsurvey of County Wildlife Sites during an extensiveprogramme of habitat and site surveys throughoutCornwall. The suite of sites, initially called CornwallNature Conservation Sites (CNCSs), was registered withthe County and District Councils.295 County Wildlife Sites (498 including subsites),covering 32984 ha (figures correct at 18th November2010); approximately 10% of the county’s land area,have been identified.These prime sites are considered to be of at least Countyimportance, and originally included sites designatedas SSSIs and National Nature Reserves, which are ofnational and even international importance. In 1999,in line with national guidance from The WildlifeTrusts, the name of the CNCSs was changed to CountyWildlife Sites (CWSs). In 2006 the overlap with statutorydesignations was resolved by removal of the CWSswithin SSSIs from the system. This prevents duplicationof effort by different conservation organisations andthe CWSs now complement the statutory sites. A list ofCWSs in Cornwall is given in Appendix 1.It must be stressed that CWSs do not include all ofthe wildlife habitat in Cornwall. There is much habitatcrucial to wildlife at a more local level that is notcurrently included in the system. These areas will beincorporated when the system is reviewed using theseexpanded criteria.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 3

3. COUNTY WILDLIFE SITE SELECTIONThis section of the document describes how CountyWildlife Sites (CWSs) are selected. The role ofRatcliffe’s primary and secondary attributes in CWSselection are discussed and guiding principles andprocedures for CWS selection are stated.CWS selection criteria are prepared for:1. UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority habitats2. Habitats that contribute to local natural character(Local habitats)3. Species GroupsCWSs are selected by applying the criteria, using theprocedures outlined, whilst considering the guidingprinciples and Ratcliffe’s attributes.1. BAP priority habitats: are habitats which, NaturalEngland has advised the Secretary of State forEnvironment, Food and Rural Affairs, are of principalimportance for the conservation of biological diversity inEngland, in accordance with the 1992 UN Conventionon Biological Diversity. The conservation of BAPhabitats is furthered by implementation of Action Plansfor each habitat. Action Plans for BAP habitats found inCornwall are detailed in Cornwall BAP Volume 3 (CBI,2004).A UK BAP species and habitats review was carried outby the Joint Nature Conservation Committee BiodiversityReporting and Information Group (JNCC, 2007) resultingin a new UK BAP priority habitats and species list. CWSdesignation may be the most appropriate mechanism forconserving some of the new BAP habitats and species.A list of Cornwall BAP habitats (and species) is availableon the Cornwall Wildlife Trust version used in this document is dated 27 thOctober 2010 for habitats and 3 rd November 2010for species). CWS selection criteria are detailed formost BAP priority habitats occurring in Cornwall. It isenvisioned that this criteria document will be updated toreflect any changes to the BAP lists.By closely aligning the CWS selection criteria with theBAP system, BAP partners can clearly see how to delivertheir BAP targets by positive action concerning speciesand habitats within CWSs, with clear benefits for all.2. Habitats that contribute to local natural character(Local habitats): BAP priority habitats do not provide acomprehensive list of habitats of conservation concernagainst which criteria for CWS selection should beprepared. “The selection of Local Sites to help sustainbiodiversity should be founded on national, regionaland local biodiversity priorities. Other habitats andspecies features should also be considered if theycontribute substantially to local natural character, evenif they are not selected as priorities within the localBAP” (para. 39, DEFRA guidance, 2006). From hereonthese habitats are referred to as ‘Local’ habitats. Criteriaare prepared for the selection of CWSs for eight Localhabitats.3. Species Groups: CWS selection criteria are preparedfor species where designation of CWSs is the mostappropriate mechanism for conserving that species.For example, CWS designation would afford protectionto the great bittern, the survival of which dependson expansion and improved condition of appropriatehabitat, but yellowhammer, which has shown a markeddecline in the UK, would not be best conserved byCWS designation as its survival depends on a widescalechange in agricultural practices. Criteria are preparedfor the selection of CWSs for ten species groups forwhich adequate data exists. The groups are: vascularplants; freshwater algae, fungi & lichens; bryophytes;invertebrates; butterflies; dragonflies & damselflies; fish;reptiles & amphibians; birds and mammals. As moredata becomes available, CWS selection criteria will beupdated and expanded.3.1 The Role of Ratcliffe’s Primary and SecondaryAttributesWhen assessing the nature conservation value of a site,either during the selection of CWSs, or in the evaluationof relative values of sites of lower interest, a series ofnationally recognised attributes are applied.The DEFRA (2006) guidance lists 10 criteria for LocalSites: “All Local Sites systems should have a set ofclear and locally defined site selection criteria withmeasurable thresholds developed with reference tothe standard set of criteria listed… Naturalness; Sizeor Extent; Diversity; Rarity; Fragility; Typicalness;Connectivity within the landscape; Recorded historyand Cultural Associations; Value for appreciation ofnature; Value for learning” (para 50, DEFRA guidance,2006).The first 6 of the criteria above are Ratcliffe’sprimary attributes as defined in ‘A Nature ConservationReview’ (Ratcliffe, 1977). The last 4 are loosely basedon Ratcliffe’s secondary attributes.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 4

The application of the attributes is complex; differentcombinations or different emphasis being requiredaccording to the nature of the site and the data underconsideration. The attributes are discussed below andsuggestions as to how they relate to and should beapplied to CWS selection in Cornwall are provided.3.1.1 Application of Ratcliffe’s Primary AttributesNaturalnessCompletely natural habitats (i.e. unaffected by man) areextremely rare in Britain, the majority being semi-naturaltypes influenced by man’s activities.Recent modification and disturbance and the presenceof alien species, all generally reduce the natureconservation value of a site, i.e. the nearer natural thesite is, the higher the value for nature conservationplaced upon it. Areas should be judged according totheir particular circumstances, as some highly valuedhabitats have resulted from natural re-colonisation ofclearly disturbed areas.Some areas of Cornwall appear to be semi-natural butare not. For example, beech plantations are similar tonative beech woodland that occurs in south-easternEngland, but in Cornwall they will not be accorded thesame value as oak woodlands, because beech is notnative to the county whereas oak is.Some artificial habitats are important in that theyprovide opportunities for species that would otherwisebe scarce, for example, bryophytes colonisingmetalliferous mine spoil; arable fields sustainingarable weeds or a disused tunnel now utilised as a bathibernaculum. Habitats such as these are assessed byother attributes because ‘naturalness’ does not apply.In the case of species - native species will, almostwithout exception, be those that are considered ofnature conservation importance.SizeLarger sites are generally considered to be of highernature conservation value, as they usually encompassa wider range of features and are less susceptible tothe impacts of external change. Larger areas are moreresistant to edge effects, species loss and colonisationby alien species, and consequently form viable units.However, in some places small sites may be theonly locally available patch of natural greenspace forappreciation of the natural environment. The value of asmall site is increased if it is connected to other sites, forexample by a corridor of semi-natural habitat such as aCornish hedge.Where important species are a consideration it shouldbe taken into account that many animal species requirelarge territories for foraging and breeding and theirconservation is thus dependent on the maintenanceof large areas of habitat. Some plant species requirea considerable extent of suitable habitat to allow forturnover within local populations and to ensure longtermsurvival.The size of a site is relative. A site that is regarded aslarge in one area, may be viewed as small in another.This shows the importance of relating site selectionto areas of search and is looked at in more detailin Appendix 2. The optimum size for a CWS variesdepending upon the habitat type for which that CWS isdesignated.The extent of a particular habitat type andits relationship to the total amount of that habitat inthe county, or in a particular part of the county shouldbe considered. For example where some habitat typesare particularly impoverished or fragmented, even smallremaining areas may be considered of high natureconservation value and eligible for selection as CWSs.When applied to species this attribute may alsobe considered in terms of population numbers.Populations may be judged in relation to the proportionof the local, national or international figure, but it israrely the case that they are known. Only for birds andmammals is there likely to be any useful information.This will also need to take into account the differencesbetween wintering and breeding populations. Wherethere is no information relating to the actual populationit is accepted that the appropriate measure to use isbased on the number of 10-km squares in Cornwallwithin which any species has been recorded.DiversityOne of the key principles of nature conservation is tosustain diversity. This includes genetic diversity withinspecies populations as well as the overall diversity ofspecies and habitats. In general, diverse sites, in terms ofboth habitats and communities are more highly valued.However caution is necessary when considering thisattribute, as some habitats are naturally more diversethan others and diversity is often related to size. Inparticular, plant communities are especially variableand it is only possible to compare communities of thesame type. For example, it would not be appropriate tocompare unimproved grassland that is generally richerin plant species, with a heathland habitat that generallyCounty Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 5

supports fewer plant species. Comparative assessmentsshould only be made where the habitat, vegetationformation, or plant communities are similar.It is unlikely that a site would be rejected for lack ofdiversity having already been considered eligible forselection on the attributes of ‘naturalness’ and ‘size’therefore relevant to CWS designation as it could aid inconservation through prioritisation of land managementresources.The attribute of diversity is useful in determiningsite management. For example, conserving diversityon a landscape scale may mean managing a site toarrest natural habitat succession at varying stages, sorepresentative examples of the full range of species andvegetation structure associated with a particular habitatshould be maintained.RarityThe rarity of a habitat type is an important elementin site assessment, in addition to whether the habitatis increasing or declining. The maintenance of rarehabitats is important to maintain genetic diversity andgeographical range. As stated above, the attribute of‘rarity’ is incorporated when considering the ‘size’attribute. To assess habitat rarity it is necessary to knowthe extent of the different habitat types both locally andat a national level.The rarity attribute is applicable across a wide rangeof species groups. It is frequently linked to populationsize and diversity. The more common and widespreadspecies tend to form the plant communities which arethe basis of selection for habitat or vegetation types,but it is the rarer species – both plant and animal -that often confer special interest. Rarity is consideredat various levels, ranging from international to local.Nationally Rare and Nationally Scarce species, togetherwith species that are rare or vulnerable in Cornwall, areof particular interest. This may include the fact that thespecies is included on a national or local Red Data listor BAP list and these can be used to help set thresholdlevels for site selection. If a species is not well recordedand a comprehensive picture of its population sizeand distribution is not known, it may not be possibleto set such thresholds. It should be stressed that rarespecies are often indicators of the habitat quality of sitesdesignated for other reasons.In Cornwall the attributes are translated into moremeaningful criteria for site assessment for 10 speciesgroups. The aim is to set criteria only for species whereCWS designation would afford protection.FragilityA site that is regarded as fragile is judged on its inherentfragility or the intrinsic sensitivity of its habitats andfeatures to change. For example, a wetland systemwhich is sensitive to hydrological effects that couldhave their origins in developments which take placeat some distance to the site. Another example is a sitethat is prone to natural successional change unlessmanaged in a particular way. The fragility attribute isTypicalnessThe aim of the CWS network is to select all sites ofsubstantive interest, whether they are typical or atypical.Therefore ‘typicalness’ is not used as a primary attributein CWS selection. Typicalness of a habitat is recordedon the CWS description summary sheet.3.1.2 Application of Ratcliffe’s Secondary Attributes“Local Site Systems should select all areas of substantivenature conservation value” (para. 42, DEFRA guidance,2006); however, this does not preclude them fromfulfilling other functions. These interests are coveredby secondary attributes, detailed below. CWSs arenot selected primarily to meet the requirements of thesecondary attributes, instead, the secondary attributesare used to supplement a site’s wildlife value. Theymust be applied rigorously to avoid compromising theintegrity of the CWS system.The secondary attributes are human-based factors thatdo not depend on the size of a site and are applied afterthe primary attribute of naturalness. Where secondaryattributes are used, their application is based on factorssuch as accessibility, safety, the range of people whowill benefit and the value for education.“While some Local Sites may be sensitive to evenmodest levels of human disturbance, others couldprovide important opportunities for people to havecontact with nature as well as related educationalopportunities” (para. 78, DEFRA guidance, 2006).Growing medical evidence shows that access to thenatural environment improves health and wellbeing,prevents disease and helps people recover from illness,and as a result the government has set targets to providenew urban greenspace, more Local Nature Reserves andprogrammes to encourage active use of the countryside.In line with this, Natural England has an objective toprovide accessible natural space within 300 metres(or five minutes' walk) of every home in England forexercise, relaxation and wellbeing.Where a CWS of substantive nature conservationimportance is the only available open space, particularlyin urban areas, it can be affected by pressures from arange of uses. It is still important to designate such sitesCounty Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 6

species group criteria should be examined for additionalsignificant interest under other species groups.G In certain cases it is permissible to designateCWS within Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).SSSIs may include features of “substantive” natureconservation interest, important in the local context, inaddition to the features that are internationally/nationallysignificant for which the site has been designated.Liaison with Natural England is important to ensurea co-ordinated approach to the conservation andmanagement of the site. Natural England should beencouraged to incorporate management for the locallysignificant feature within the management advice theygive the landowner for the whole SSSI. This will only bepossible if there is no conflict with management for thefeature(s) for which the SSSI has been designated.Where a SSSI is part of a larger area of substantive natureconservation interest in the local context, the area outsidethe SSSI should be considered for selection as a local siteand assessed separately against the agreed criteria. Thismay provide a level of buffering to the SSSI.H The process of site selection will be transparent.The rationale of the decisions made will be recordedand made available to any interested parties. This will benecessary for arbitration should the CWS designation becontested. Conversely, there may be a need to show whya site has been de-selected or was not selected in thefirst place. Procedures for how this will be achieved arereferred to in section 3.3.I The process of site selection will be accountableand legitimate. The site selection procedure must becarried out by suitably qualified experts with knowledgeof ecological principles and processes and an overviewof the ecology of the County. The whole process must beratified by a Local Sites Partnership; this role is adoptedby the Cornwall BAP Partnership. The BAP Partnership’srole in overseeing and approving the criteria and thesite assessment and selection procedures, and providingtechnical input as necessary, is vital in respect of theaccountability of the process.3.3 Procedures for County Wildlife Site SelectionA Local Sites Partnership Group has been drawn fromthe larger BAP Partnership, and comprises CountyPlanners, Countryside Managers, Minerals Planners,geologists in industry, representatives from NaturalEngland, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, theCornwall Agricultural Council, and Cornwall WildlifeTrust. This Partnership has overseen the strategicdevelopment of the County Wildlife Site and CountyGeology Site Systems and approved the criteria andsite assessment and selection procedures. Members ofthe Partnership continue to provide technical input asnecessary.The evaluation of existing or potential new sites willbe carried out using the criteria for habitats and speciesdetailed in Section 4 and Appendices 4,5 and 6 of thisreport, whilst following the Guiding Principles in Section3.2. Designation of new sites will be a 5 stage process:1. A ‘working list’ of potential new sites will be createdby members of the Local Sites Partnership. This listwill be managed by Cornwall Wildlife Trust.2. Preliminary information on these sites will becollected by members of the Local Sites Partnership(including a rough outline boundary and briefreasons for interest based on this criteria document),and brought to partnership meetings to discussprioritisation and collate information.3. For potential new sites thought suitable for furtherinvestigation, ecologists will collate detailedinformation and complete the form ‘Protocol foramending County Wildlife Site boundaries’ (in draftform in Appendix 7; currently under consultation).4. The Local Sites Partnership will meet to evaluate sitesby referring to the completed protocol form and thesecriteria. Sites will be approved, rejected or put onhold pending more information.5. If the site is approved, site documentation will becompleted with a Site Summary Sheet and a SiteBoundary Map being produced for each site.The process for changes to site boundaries and/ordeletion of sites will follow the steps below (data is likelyto have been collected by ecologists undertaking surveysin the field, so there is no need for steps 1 & 2 above):1. Ecologists will collate detailed information on thesite and reasons for suggested boundary changes andcomplete the form ‘Protocol for amending CountyWildlife Site boundaries’ (currently in draft form;Appendix 7).2. The Local Sites Partnership will meet to evaluate theproposed amendment/deletion by referring to thecompleted protocol form and these criteria. Sites willbe approved, rejected or put on hold pending moreinformation.3. If the amendment/deletion is approved, sitedocumentation will be completed with a SiteSummary Sheet and a Site Boundary Map beingproduced for each site.The summary sheet will be distributed to the site ownerand other selected parties and will ultimately be madeavailable on a password-protected web-based system. Anexample of the summary sheet is given in Appendix 3.The web-based CWS dataset will be re-issued annually.There will also be a rolling programme of site reviewand update, as funding allows.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 8

3.4 Site BoundariesThere are many issues associated with delineating sitesand drawing boundaries. Paragraphs A to E belowoutline the procedures associated with these.A Site boundaries are drawn to be meaningfulin biological terms and to reflect the site selectioncriteria. However, there are relatively few sites wherethe boundary which marks the land of interest fromthe wider landscape is clear-cut and necessarily someelement of subjectivity and expert judgment is required.It is usually the case that the areas of semi-naturalinterest are first identified and then a boundary isdefined that both includes all the area of interest andfollows some clearly identifiable landscape feature. Inpractice, this usually means that the boundary of anysite is coincident with parts of the local field boundarysystem.B Within parts of Cornwall certain extensive habitatsthat are now fragmented may still be viewed as onesystem. Sympathetic management to develop linksand corridors for natural colonisation and movementof species can then be encouraged. For example, theWest Penwith moors are clearly part of one extendedlowland heathland unit despite that fact that there areareas of heathland that are detached and isolated. Incircumstances such as these it is deemed sensible totreat the whole area as one site, even though some ofthe components are isolated and small. There is noeasy answer to how fragmented any area must be beforethe fragments are treated as separate sites and each casemust be assessed and described on an individual basis.C As a general rule site boundaries do not includedeliberately delineated buffer zones. However, theymay include areas which effectively act as buffers buthave been included for another reason. This might bean area that marginally fails to meet the criteria butis adjacent to others which do and is included as anintegral part of the overall site. The situation may alsoarise where areas of lesser value form an integral part ofa management unit of which the eligible area forms themajority.D The problem of whether artificial habitats (lackingspecial interest) within a site should be excluded fromthe site, thereby leaving ‘holes’ within the site map, hasto be decided for each case on its merits. This mightoccur where a site has a fine mosaic of artificial andsemi-natural habitats for which it would be very difficultto accurately define a boundary, e.g. a conifer plantationselected for the value of the rides. It might also occur inthe case of a degraded or artificial area within a block ofsemi-natural habitat; without detailed survey informationit may be preferable to include all of the degradedand artificial land within the site boundary. However,any artificial and degraded areas included should be arelatively small proportion of the total area of the site.E There should be a presumption in favour ofmosaics. When dealing with habitat mosaics, if nosingle habitat qualifies for selection, at least one shouldbe ‘of some significance’. For example, the area shouldbe at least two-thirds of the qualifying figure. In additionto mosaics chosen because at least one component isof County quality, the best example of each particularcombination of habitats within an Area of Search (AOS)should be selected. Most blocks of semi-natural habitatare made up of a number of habitats. Whilst no singlehabitat may qualify on its own, the site as a whole mayclearly be large and diverse and value is added by thefact that the juxtaposition of the different habitats andthe transitions between them are interesting ecologicalfeatures in themselves. Generally, the greater thenumber of additional habitats, the greater the overallimportance of the area as a whole.The Area of Search (AOS) is the area over which thecriteria are applied. For this purpose Cornwall is dividedinto areas which reflect local variations in wildlife andnatural features. Following the principles specifiedin paragraph 40 of the DEFRA (2006) guidance, theAOS is based on 'Natural Areas' defined by the formerEnglish Nature, combined with the former CountrysideCommission’s 'Character Areas'. These 'Joint CharacterAreas' divide Cornwall into The Culm; Bodmin Moor;Cornish Killas; Hensbarrow; Carnmenellis; The Lizardand West Penwith. Due to the large size of the ‘CornishKillas’ and the different character of the north and southcoasts, this area is sub-divided into ‘North’ and ‘South’.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 9

4. CRITERIA FOR COUNTY WILDLIFE SITE SELECTION INCORNWALLThis section provides details of CWS selection criteria.The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) assignsthe whole of the UK’s land surface and surroundingseas to one of 21 Broad Habitat Types (BHTs) (Jackson,2000). The BHT system is the nationally acceptedframework through which the Government is committedto meet its obligations for monitoring the countryside.Within the BHT classification system, a sub-set ofPriority Habitat Types (PHTs) are identified. PHTs arethose that are identified in the UK Biodiversity ActionPlan (UK BAP) as being at risk and in need of positiveconservation action. Local Habitat Types (LHTs) areadditional habitat types that have been recognised bythe Cornwall Biodiversity Partnership as being of natureconservation significance in Cornwall.The list of Cornwall axiophytes (plant indicator species)on the Botanical Society of the British Isles website: (accessed 27 thOctober 2010) will be useful in determining whethera BAP Priority Habitat or a Local Habitat is eligiblefor selection as a CWS under these criteria. A list ofaxiophytes specific to Cornwall and organised accordingto Broad BAP habitat classification is due for publicationin 2011 by the Botanical Cornwall Group.The appendices provide more detailed information foreach of the habitats and the species groups. Appendix2 gives details of how and why the size thresholdsfor each habitat were determined. Appendices 4 and5 summarise what is known about each BAP habitatand Local Habitat respectively, show what sources areavailable and comment on the quality of that informationand its interpretation. Appendix 6 provides details onthe criteria for each species group.The following is a list of all the habitats and speciesgroups that are considered in this document.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 10

BAP Priority HabitatsMaritime and Coastal Habitats Broad Habitat Type(BHT) (coded Mc)Coastal saltmarsh Priority Habitat Type (PHT)Coastal sand dunes PHTCoastal vegetated shingle PHTEstuarine rocky habitats PHTIntertidal mudflats PHTMaerl beds PHTMaritime cliff and slopes PHTMud habitats in deep water PHTSabellaria alveolata reefs PHTSaline lagoons PHTSeagrass beds PHTSheltered muddy gravels PHTSubtidal sands and gravels PHTBroadleaved, mixed and yew woodland BHT (codedWd)Lowland mixed deciduous woodland PHTTraditional orchards PHTUpland mixed ashwoods PHTUpland oakwood PHTWet woodland PHTWood-pasture and parkland PHTBoundary and linear features BHT (coded Ar)Hedgerows PHTArable and horticultural BHT (coded Ah)Arable field margins PHTImproved grassland BHT (coded Ig)Coastal and floodplain grazing marsh PHTNeutral grassland BHT (coded Ng)Lowland meadows PHTCalcareous grassland BHT (coded Cg)Lowland calcareous grassland PHTAcid grassland BHT (coded Ag)Lowland dry acid grassland PHTDwarf shrub heath BHT (coded He)Lowland heathland PHTUpland heathland PHTFen, marsh and swamp BHT (coded Fe)Lowland fens PHTPurple moor grass and rush pastures PHTReedbeds PHTUpland flushes, fens and swamps PHTReedbeds PHTUpland flushes, fens and swamps PHTBog BHT (coded Bo)Blanket bog PHTStanding water and canals BHT (coded Fe)Eutrophic standing water PHTMesotrophic lakes PHTOligotrophic and dystrophic lakes PHTPonds PHTRivers and streams BHT (coded Rs)Rivers PHTInland rock BHT (coded Ir)Calaminarian grasslands PHTBuilt up areas and gardens BHT (coded Bu)Open mosaic habitats on previously developed landPHTLocal HabitatsBroadleaved, mixed and yew woodland BHT (codedLw)Local ancient woodlandsLocal mixed ashwoodsLocal parklandBoundary and linear features BHT (coded Lb)Local boundariesNeutral grassland BHT (coded Lg)Local floodplain grasslandsLocal lowland meadowsAcid grassland BHT (coded Lu)Upland dry acid grasslandStanding water and canals BHT (coded Lf)Local pondsSpecies GroupsSpecies GroupsFlowering Plants and Ferns (Vascular Plants)Freshwater algae, fungi & lichensMosses and Liverworts (Bryophytes)InvertebratesButterfliesDragonflies & Damselflies (Odonata)FishReptiles & Amphibians (Herptiles)BirdsMammalsCounty Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 11

4.1 Criteria for BAP PRIORITY HABITATSFor each habitat there is a description, a box containingthe threshold area, followed by a justification. Thedescription gives a basic idea of the nature of the habitatand reasons for its importance. The threshold is the areawhich makes the habitat eligible for selection and thejustification gives basic reasons for the selection of thehabitat.COASTAL SALTMARSHDescriptionCoastal saltmarshes in Britain comprise the upper,vegetated portions of intertidal mudflats, lyingapproximately between mean high water neap tides andmean high water spring tides.A natural saltmarsh system shows a clear zonationaccording to the frequency of inundation. At thelowest level the pioneer glassworts Salicornia spp canwithstand immersion by as many as 600 tides per year,while transitional species of the upper marsh can onlywithstand occasional inundation.Saltmarshes are an important resource for wading birdsand wildfowl. They act as high tide refuges for birdsfeeding on adjacent mudflats and as a source of foodfor passerine birds particularly in autumn and winter. Inwinter, grazed saltmarshes are used as feeding groundsby wild ducks.Mc1 All coastal saltmarshes of at least 0.3hectares are eligible for selectionJustificationThe most recent saltmarsh surveys in Britain estimatethe total extent of saltmarsh (including transitionalcommunities) to be approximately 45 000 ha. The areaof this habitat in Cornwall is only 290 ha, about half ofwhich is found in the Tamar estuary complex. This is

DescriptionESTUARINE ROCKY HABITATSEstuarine Rocky Habitats encompasses rocky habitats inestuaries which are found from just above high waterto those which are found just below low water andincorporates substrata types such as bedrock and stableboulders. Generally rias are one of the most relevanttypes of inlet for rocky estuarine habitats. These habitats,along with a complex of other estuarine habitats, are partof the ‘connectivity’ of land, estuary and open sea. Forexample, rich and sheltered estuarine waters providenursery grounds for fish, and estuarine rocky habitats arean important component of these nursery grounds.Mc4JustificationAll mudflats of 2 hectares or more areeligible for selectionThere is no clear understanding of what the total area ofestuarine rocky habitats in Britain. The area of estuarinerocky habitats in the county is known to be very small,probably in the range of 60-100 ha, most of it foundwithin the Fal and Helford. Any examples are likely tobe a significant part of the estuarine ecosystem.INTERTIDAL MUDFLATSDescriptionMudflats are sedimentary intertidal habitats createdby deposition in low energy coastal environments,particularly estuaries and other sheltered areas. Theirsediment consists mostly of silts and clays with a highorganic content. Towards the mouths of estuaries wheresalinity and wave energy are higher the proportion ofsand increases. Mudflats are highly productive areaswhich, together with other intertidal habitats, supportlarge numbers of predatory birds and fish. They providefeeding and resting areas for internationally importantpopulations of migrant and wintering waterfowl, and arealso important nursery areas for flatfish.Mc5All mudflats of 2 hectares or more areeligible for selectionJustificationThe total British estuarine resource has been estimated atover 500 000 ha of which 55% is intertidal area, mostlymud and sandflats with a lesser amount of saltmarsh.Intertidal flats cover about 250 000 ha.In Cornwall the area of mudflats is about 2600 ha, about1.0% of the national total. The majority is found onthe Tamar, Fal and Camel estuaries, but there are stillsignificant areas within the smaller estuaries and creeks.MAERL BEDSDescriptionMaerl is a collective term for several species of calcifiedred seaweed. It grows as unattached nodules on theseabed, and can form extensive beds in favourableconditions. Maerl is slow-growing, but over longperiods its dead calcareous skeleton can accumulateinto deep deposits (an important habitat in its own right),overlain by a thin layer of pink, living maerl.Maerl beds typically develop where there is some tidalflow, such as in the narrows and rapids of sea lochs,or the straits and sounds between islands. Beds mayalso develop in more open areas where wave actionis sufficient to remove fine sediments, but not strongenough to break the brittle maerl branches. Live maerlhas been found at depths of 40 m, but beds are typicallymuch shallower, above 20 m and extending up to thelow tide level.Mc6All maerl beds are eligible for selectionJustificationMaerl beds are found off the southern and western coastsof the British Isles, north to Shetland, but are particularlywell developed around the Scottish islands and in sealoch narrows, around Orkney, and in the south in theFal Estuary. All the known maerl beds fall within the Fal& Helford SAC. These are of international importance.Any other areas of live maerl in Cornish waters are alsoof particular significance.MARITIME CLIFF AND SLOPESDescriptionMaritime cliffs and slopes comprise sloping to verticalfaces on the coastline where a break in slope is formedby slippage and/or coastal erosion. The landward limitis determined by how far the ‘maritime influence’ isconsidered to extend.Maritime cliffs can broadly be classified as 'hard cliffs'or 'soft cliffs', though in practice there are a number ofintermediate types. Hard cliffs are vertical or steeplysloping and be formed of rocks resistant to weathering,such as granite. Soft cliffs are formed in less resistantrocks such as shales; being unstable they often form lesssteep slopes and are therefore more easily colonised byvegetation.Mc7All maritime cliff and slopes of 3 hectaresor more are eligible for selectionJustificationApproximately 4000 km of the British coastline has beenclassified as cliff. In Cornwall there are about 250 kmof cliff, probably dominated by hard cliff, the total areaCounty Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 13

eing at least 4000 ha, depending on where the limitof maritime influence is deemed to lie. The Cornishcliffs and maritime coast contain many stretches of wildrugged cliffs rich in wildlife which are nationally andinternationally important.MUD HABITATS IN DEEP WATERDescriptionMud habitats in deep water occur below 20-30 m inmany areas of Britain’s marine environment, includingmarine inlets such as sea lochs. The relatively stableconditions associated with deep mud habitats oftenlead to the establishment of communities of burrowingmegafaunal species where bathyal species may occurwith coastal species. These soft mud communities occurextensively throughout the more sheltered basins of sealochs and voes. As these sites are typically shelteredfrom wave action, these communities may occur in quiteshallow depths (15 m).Mc8All mud habitats in deep water areeligible for selectionJustificationWe have no significant knowledge of the distribution ofthis habitat off the coast of Cornwall. It will inevitablybe of county importance wherever it occurs, because itwill form a mosaic with other sublittoral habitats. Thelarger blocks will be of particular interest.Sabellaria alveolata REEFSDescriptionSabellaria alveolata reefs are formed by the honeycombworm Sabellaria alveolata, a polychaete whichconstructs tubes in tightly packed masses with adistinctive honeycomb-like appearance. These reefs canbe up to 30 cm or even 50 cm thick and take the formof hummocks, sheets or more massive formations. Theyare mainly found on the bottom third of the shore, butmay reach mean high water of neap tides and extendinto the shallow subtidal in places.Mc9All Sabellaria alveolata reefs are eligiblefor selectionJustificationThe British Isles represent the northern extremity of therange in the north-east Atlantic, which extends south toMorocco. The reefs also occur in the Mediterranean. InBritain, S. alveolata reefs are found only on shores withstrong to moderate wave action in the south and west,between Lyme Bay on the south coast of England andthe Scottish coast of the Solway Firth. In Cornwall thereare only about 3 ha of this kind of Sabellaria reef, nearly all ofit at a few sites on the Bude coast.SALINE LAGOONSDescriptionLagoons in the UK are essentially bodies, natural orartificial, of saline water partially separated from theadjacent sea. They retain a proportion of their seawaterat low tide and may develop as brackish, full saline orhyper-saline water bodies.Lagoons can contain a variety of substrata, often softsediments which in turn may support tasselweeds andstoneworts as well as filamentous green and brownalgae. In addition lagoons contain invertebrates rarelyfound elsewhere. They may also provide importanthabitat for waterfowl, marshland birds and seabirds.There are several different types of lagoons, rangingfrom those separated from the adjacent sea by a barrierof sand or shingle ('typical lagoons'), to those arisingas ponded waters in depressions on soft sedimentaryshores, to those separated by a rocky sill or artificialconstruction such as a sea wall.Mc10 All saline lagoons are eligible forselectionJustificationThe largest lagoon in the UK is in excess of 800 ha (Lochof Stenness) although the rest are much smaller andsome may be less than 1 ha. The total area is certainly atleast 5000 ha in Britain.The area of this habitat in Cornwall is only 49 ha; thisis

(covering around 325 ha). Other important sites includethe Exe Estuary and the Isles of Scilly.While there are about 350 ha within the Isles of Scilly,the area of this habitat in Cornwall is only 46 ha, twothirdsof which is found in Carrick Roads. This is

LOWLAND MIXED DECIDUOUS WOODLANDDescriptionLowland mixed deciduous woodlands are typicallylowland woods of about 20 ha growing in a flat or gentlyundulating farmland landscape. The woods are usuallydominated by mixtures of oak, ash and hazel which mayhave been coppiced in the early part of the twentiethcentury.These woodlands vary considerably in their groundflora, ranging from the dog’s mercury Mercurialisperennis dominated ground layer of the W8 woodlandswhich often include enchanter’s nightshade Circaealutetiana and primrose Primula vulgaris in addition tobluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta and wood anemoneAnemone nemoralis to the poorer examples of W10.Wd1All lowland mixed deciduous woodlandof 1.5 hectares or more is eligible forselectionJustificationThere are no precise figures for the total extent of thiswoodland type, but it is believed to be between about150 000 and 200 000 ha in the UK. It includes mostsemi-natural woodland in southern and western Englandand parts of lowland Wales and Scotland.The area of this habitat in Cornwall is about 1500 ha:this is about 1% of the national total. About two-thirdsof these woodlands are found in the eastern part of thecounty: there is virtually none in Penwith.These woods are often ancient semi-natural and retaina ground flora that reflects a long history. As such theyare irreplaceable remnants and an important part ofCornwall’s historical heritage.TRADITIONAL ORCHARDSDescriptionTraditional orchards are related to wood-pasture andparkland, but are characteristically different. In general,the trees are of the family Rosaceae and the scale issmaller. This is reflected both in the size of the trees andthe size of the plots.To be classed as a priority habitat, traditional orchardsneed to be managed in a low intensity way. This isshown by the fact that there is permanent grasslandbetween the trees. Visible herbicide strips indicateintensive management. A further distinction is thattraditional orchards are often planted at half the densityof intensive orchards, though there may be someoverlap.Wd2All traditional orchards are eligible forselectionJustificationTraditional orchards are found throughout the UK, butthe majority are in England. The total area of traditionalorchards in England is thought to be about 28 000ha. There are concentrations in six counties, includingSomerset in the South West. Somerset is one of thecounties with large scale commercial planting, but thereis thought to be little commercial planting in Cornwallwhere the total area of orchards would appear to be onlyabout 70 ha.UPLAND MIXED ASHWOODSDescriptionThe term upland mixed ashwoods is used for woods onbase-rich soils in the north and west, in most of whichash is a major species, although locally oak, birch, elm,small-leaved lime and even hazel may be the mostabundant species. Upland in the name reflects theabundance of this type of woodland on base-rich soilsin upland Britain rather than to the altitude at whichindividual sites occur. Most upland mixed ashwoods areprobably ancient.Mixed ashwoods are amongst the richest habitats forwildlife in the uplands, notable for bright displays offlowers such as bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta,primrose Primula vulgaris, wood cranesbill Geraniumsylvaticum and wild garlic Allium ursinum.Wd3 All upland mixed ashwoods of 1.5hectares or more are eligible for selectionJustificationThese woodlands are found throughout upland Britainand in Northern Ireland, though they are limited in thenorth-west Highlands.There are no precise data on the total extent of uplandashwoods in the UK, but a crude estimate places thetotal area of upland ashwood at 67 500 ha. The area ofthis habitat in Cornwall is only 1740 ha, over two-thirdsof which lies in the east of the county. This is about2½% of the national total.The ashwoods are distinctly different from the oakwoodswhich are the dominant semi-natural woodland, not onlybecause of the trees, but also in their ground flora. Inthe ashwoods this is not only different but often morediverse.UPLAND OAKWOODDescriptionUpland oakwoods are characterised by a predominanceof oak (most commonly sessile, but locally pedunculate)and birch in the canopy, with varying amounts of holly,rowan and hazel as the main understorey species.The range of plants found in the ground layer variesCounty Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 16

according to the underlying soil type and degree ofgrazing from bluebell-bramble-fern communities throughgrass and bracken dominated ones to healthy mossdominatedareas.The ferns, mosses and liverworts found in the mostoceanic of these woods are particularly rich; many alsohold very diverse lichen communities and the woodstypically have a distinctive breeding bird assemblage.Wd4All upland oakwood of 1.5 hectares ormore is eligible for selectionJustificationThere are no precise figures for the total extent of thiswoodland type, but it is believed to be between about70 000 and 100 000 ha in the UK. It is found throughoutthe north and west of the UK with major concentrationsin Argyll and Lochaber, Cumbria, Gwynedd, Devon andCornwall.The area of this habitat in Cornwall is about 1500 ha:this is about 2% of the national total. About two-thirdsof these woodlands are found in the eastern part of thecounty: there is virtually none in Penwith.The oakwoods of the county are often ancient seminaturaland retain a ground flora that reflects a longhistory. As such they are irreplaceable remnants and animportant part of Cornwall’s historical heritage.WET WOODLANDDescriptionWet woodland occurs on poorly drained or seasonallywet soils, usually with alder, birch and willows as thepredominant tree species, but sometimes including ash,oak, pine and beech on the drier riparian areas. It isfound on floodplains, as successional habitat on fens,mires and bogs, along streams and hill-side flushes, andin peaty hollows.In terms of National Vegetation Classification (NVC)plant communities this habitat is characterised as W1woodland to W3 woodland, W4c woodland, and W5woodland to W7 woodland.Moors, but there are a range of other woodland typesfound throughout the county. In particular, the alderdominatedwoodlands are particularly scarce, themajority being found in the east of the county.WOOD-PASTURE AND PARKLANDDescriptionWood-pasture and parkland is the product of historicland management systems, and represent a vegetationstructure rather than being a particular plant community.Typically this structure consists of large, open-grown orhigh forest trees (often pollards) at various densities, in amatrix of grazed grassland, heathland and/or woodlandfloras. These sites are frequently of national historic,cultural and landscape importance.Outgrown wood-pasture and mature high forestremnants ('virgin forests') occur in northern and centralEurope, but the number and continuity of ancient(veteran) trees with their associated distinctive saproxylic(wood-eating) fauna and epiphytic flora are moreabundant in Britain than elsewhere. Parklands andwood-pasture may also be of interest for bats and birdsand may preserve indigenous tree genotypes. Theseareas are outstanding at a European level.Wd6 All wood-pasture and parkland of 0.5hectares or more is eligible for selectionJustificationThere are no reliable statistics on the extent of theoverall resource, nor on historical and current rates ofloss or degradation of this type of habitat. The figure of10-20 000 ha 'currently in a working condition' givenin the 'habitat statement' of the UK Biodiversity SteeringGroup report is the current best estimate.There are thought to be about 500 ha of parkland in thecounty, but probably less than half that would qualify asthis PHT. However, the remainder is still of interest at alocal level and the lower quality sites will be included asa local habitat.Wd5All wet woodland of 2 hectares or moreis eligible for selectionJustificationThere are no precise data on the total extent of wetwoodland in the UK, but a crude estimate of the totalwet woodland area in the UK is 50 000–70 000 ha.There are about 2200 ha of wet woodland in Cornwall,nearly 4% of the national total. Much of the willowwoodland is found associated with the mid-CornwallCounty Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 17

HEDGEROWSDescriptionHedgerows, which support the greatest diversity of plantsand animals, are often those which were in existencebefore the Enclosure Acts, passed mainly between 1720and 1840 in Britain. Species-rich hedgerows may betaken as those which contain 5 or more native woodyspecies on average in a 30 m length, or 4 or more innorthern England, upland Wales and Scotland.Hedges which consist only of an earth or stone bank orwall are not considered, the criteria being limited to theassessment of boundary lines of trees or shrubs. Wheresuch lines of trees of shrubs are associated with featuressuch as banks, ditches, trees or verges, these features areconsidered to form part of the hedgerow.Ar1All hedgerows are eligible for selectionJustificationThe current British total may be estimated to be about350 000 km, about 150 000 km of which are speciesrich.Such hedges are concentrated in southern England,especially in the south-west, and in southern Wales, andare relatively scarce in Scotland. Because many of thefield boundaries in Cornwall are classified as ‘banks’, itis not clear how much hedgerow there is in the county,and not clear how much of that could be classed aspriority habitat.Hedgerows are important not only for the species thatcompose them, but also as wildlife corridors which linkblocks of habitat and as features that enhance the landscape.It is not appropriate to suggest designation of just apercentage of them as any assessment of their importance islikely to hinge on a diverse number of judgements.ARABLE FIELD MARGINSDescriptionThe term "arable field margin" refers to strips of landlying between cereal crops and the field boundary, andextending for a limited distance into the crop, which aredeliberately managed to create conditions which benefitkey farmland species.Arable field margins provide nesting and feeding sitesfor many birds. Species of butterflies, grasshoppers, andplant bugs are associated with such sites. Excluding soilinvertebrates, micro-organisms and transients, some 2000species of invertebrate are commonly found in cerealfields alone.Even more dependent on arable field margins are therare arable flowers. Threatened and important speciesfrom these margins include pheasant's eye Adonis annua,cornflower Centaurea cyanus, broadleaved spurgeEuphorbia platyphyllos, corn parsley Petroselinumsegetum, shepherd’s-needle Scandix pecten-veneris andnarrow-fruited cornsalad Valerianella dentata.Ah1All arable field margins are eligible forselectionJustificationArable land covers about 60 000 km2 in Great Britain(defined as total crops plus bare fallow plus grasslandless than five years old).The margins of arable fields could be managed inways which would benefit wildlife, without havingserious detrimental effects on the remaining croppedarea. Estimating average national field size to be 12 hasuggests that there are about 800 000 km of arable fieldedge in the UK. If all such boundaries included a 6 mmanaged margin, some 400 000 ha of land would bebrought into sensitive management.It is not known how much land is managed in this wayin Cornwall.COASTAL AND FLOODPLAIN GRAZING MARSHDescriptionGrazing marsh is defined as periodically inundatedpasture, or meadow with ditches which maintain thewater levels, containing standing brackish or freshwater. The ditches are especially rich in plants andinvertebrates. Almost all areas are grazed and some arecut for hay or silage. Sites may contain seasonal waterfilledhollows and permanent ponds with emergentswamp communities.Grazing marshes may be important for the numberof breeding waders or for populations of winteringwildfowl such as wigeon Anas penelope.Ig1All coastal and floodplain grazing marshare eligible for selectionJustificationThe exact extent of grazing marsh in the UK is not knownbut it is possible that there may be a total of 300 000 ha.The area in Cornwall is clearly small. Only 73 hahas been identified as PHT and there is unlikely to bemuch more. Any remaining sites are likely to lie in thefloodplains of the River Lynher and River Tamar.The small areas that do occur are important areas forwildfowl in the winter.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 18

LOWLAND MEADOWSDescriptionLowland meadows include most forms of unimprovedneutral grassland across the enclosed lowlandlandscapes of Britain. In terms of National VegetationClassification plant communities, they primarily embraceeach type of Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigragrassland, Alopecurus pratensis - Sanguisorba officinalisfloodplain meadow and Cynosurus cristatus - Calthapalustris flood-pasture. The plan is not restricted tograsslands cut for hay, but also takes into accountunimproved neutral pastures where livestock grazing isthe main land use.In non-agricultural settings, such grasslands are lessfrequent but additional examples may be found inrecreational sites, church-yards, roadside verges and avariety of other localities.Ng1All lowland meadows are eligible forselectionJustificationRecent survey findings in Britain reveal an estimatedextent of less than 15 000 ha of species-rich neutralgrassland surviving today in Britain.Recent estimates for cover in Britain of the Cynosurus- Centaurea grassland indicate that there is between7000-13 000 ha of this community in total. This is byfar the most common kind of lowland meadow, the totalarea of the other two communities being only about onequarter that figure.There are probably something like 50-150 ha of this PHTin the county that might be eligible for site selection.Much of it will be MG5 in inaccessible valleys, oftennear the coast. All these scarce flower-rich meadowsare in urgent need of conservation. They are in generallikely to be remnants of the semi-natural grasslands thatexisted before the widespread agricultural improvementsof the twentieth century.LOWLAND CALCAREOUS GRASSLANDDescriptionLowland calcareous grasslands are developed onshallow lime-rich soils generally overlying limestonerocks, including chalk. These grasslands are nowlargely found on distinct topographic features such asescarpments or dry valley slopes and sometimes onancient earthworks in landscapes strongly influenced bythe underlying limestone geology.More rarely, remnant examples occur on flattertopography such as in Breckland and on Salisbury Plain.They are typically managed as components of pastoralor mixed farming systems, supporting sheep, cattle orsometimes horses; a few examples are cut for hay.Cg1All lowland calcareous grassland iseligible for selectionJustificationLowland calcareous grassland only occurs in Englandand Wales. Current estimates put the amount of lowlandcalcareous grassland remaining in the United Kingdomaround 33 000 to 41 000 ha with less than 1000 haof this in Wales. The bulk of the resource is found onchalk (25 000 to 32 000 ha), with major concentrationsin Wiltshire, Dorset and the South Downs.The calcareous grasslands in Cornwall - which coveronly 135 ha - fit the definition of the PHT, but areactually a range of grasslands found just behind themajor sand dunes and might be more appropriatelylinked with them. Whatever the case, they are flowerrichgrasslands of a particularly rare kind in the countyand are worth conserving for their wildlife interest andfor the way they enhance the coastal landscape.LOWLAND DRY ACID GRASSLANDDescriptionLowland acid grassland often occurs as an integral partof lowland heath landscapes, in parklands and locallyon coastal cliffs and shingle. It is normally managed aspasture, typically found on nutrient-poor, generally freedrainingsoils overlying acid rocks or superficial depositssuch as sands and gravels.Acid grassland is characterised by a range of plant speciessuch as heath bedstraw Galium saxatile, sheep's-fescueFestuca ovina, common bent Agrostis capillaris, sheep'ssorrel Rumex acetosella, sand sedge Carex arenaria, wavyhair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa, bristle bent Agrostiscurtisii and tormentil Potentilla erecta.Ag1 All lowland dry acid grassland of 0.5hectares or more is eligible for selectionJustificationStands remote from the upland fringe, which are theprimary focus of conservation attention, are nowof restricted occurrence and it is estimated that lessthan 30,000 ha now remain in Britain. It is likelythat something like 500 ha of this habitat is found inCornwall, about 1.6% of the national total.All of this grassland is believed to be found inassociation with Lowland Heathland in Cornwall. It isan important part of the heathland mosaic here wheregrazing or burning keeps some heathland areas in amore open and grass-dominated form.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 19

LOWLAND HEATHLANDDescriptionLowland heathland is characterised by the presence ofplants such as heather, dwarf gorses, and cross-leavedheath and is generally found below 300 metres inaltitude. Areas of good quality heathland should consistof an ericaceous layer of varying heights and structures,some areas of scattered trees and scrub, areas of bareground, gorse, wet heaths, bogs and open water. Thepresence and numbers of characteristic birds, reptiles,invertebrates, vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens areimportant indicators of habitat quality.He1 All lowland heathland with an area of 3hectares or more is eligible for selectionJustificationLowland heathland is a priority for nature conservationbecause it is a rare and threatened habitat. In Englandonly one sixth of the heathland present in 1800 nowremains. Cornwall is one of the most important areasfor lowland heathland in Britain, only Hampshire andDorset holding more. The area of heathland in thecounty is about 6500 ha, the majority of it in Penwithand the Lizard.The remaining heaths are a distinct and importantwildlife habitat. More than that, they are an importantelement of the landscape character in many of the wilderparts of the county.LOWLAND FENSDescriptionFens are peatlands which receive water and nutrientsfrom the soil, rock and ground water as well as fromrainfall: they are minerotrophic.Fens can also be described as 'poor-fens' or 'rich-fens'.Poor-fens, where the water is derived from base-poorrock such as granites, occur mainly in the uplands, or areassociated with lowland heaths. They are characterisedby short vegetation with a high proportion of bog mossesSphagnum spp. Rich-fens, are fed by mineral-enrichedcalcareous waters (pH 5 or more) and are mainlyconfined to the lowlands.Fen habitats support a diversity of plant and animalcommunities. Some can contain up to 550 species ofhigher plants - a third of our native plant species; upto and occasionally more than half the UK's species ofdragonflies and several thousand other insect species, aswell as being an important habitat for a range of aquaticbeetles.Fe1All lowland fens of 2.5 hectares or moreare eligible for selectionUPLAND HEATHLANDDescriptionHeathland vegetation occurs widely on mineral soils andthin peats (

PURPLE MOOR GRASS AND RUSH PASTURESDescriptionPurple moor grass and rush pastures occur on poorlydrained, usually acidic soils in lowland areas of highrainfall in western Europe. Their vegetation, which hasa distinct character, consists of various species-rich typesof fen meadow and rush pasture. Purple moor grassMolinia caerulea, and rushes, especially sharp-floweredrush Juncus acutiflorus, are usually abundant.Fe4All purple moor grass and rush pasturesof 1 hectare or more are eligible forselectionJustificationIn Britain, they are found in south-west England,particularly in Devon, southern Wales and southwestScotland. It is probable that the total extent ofthe habitat in the UK is now about 31 000 ha. This isthought to be considerably more than survives in the restof Europe, with the possible exception of the Republic ofIreland.Cornwall holds about 920 ha of this habitat, the primeareas being found in the Culm Natural Area in NorthCornwall where there are about 360 ha remaining,about a third of which is of national importance.The remaining sites are under threat of drainage andagricultural reclamation.REEDBEDSDescriptionReedbeds are wetlands dominated by stands of thecommon reed Phragmites australis, wherein thewater table is at or above ground level for most of theyear. They tend to incorporate areas of open waterand ditches, and small areas of wet grassland and carrwoodland may be associated with them. Reedbeds areamongst the most important habitats for birds in the UK.Five GB Red Data Book invertebrates are also closelyassociated with reedbeds.BLANKET BOGDescriptionBlanket bog peat accumulates in response to the veryslow rate at which plant material decomposes underconditions of waterlogging. Peat depth is very variable,with an average of 0.5-3 m being fairly typical butdepths in excess of 5 m not unusual.Many of the typical blanket mire species, such asheather Calluna vulgaris, cross-leaved heath Ericatetralix, deer grass Trichophorum cespitosum, cottongrass Eriophorum species and several of the bog mossSphagnum species, occur throughout much of the rangeof the habitat, although their relative proportions varyacross the country.Fe5All reedbeds are eligible for selectionJustificationThere are about 5000 ha of reedbeds in the UK, butof the 900 or so sites contributing to this total, onlyabout 50 are greater than 20 ha, and these make a largecontribution to the total area. There is about 100 ha ofreedbeds in Cornwall, about 2% of the national total.The many small reedbed sites support a large range ofspecies many of which are dependent on them for foodand shelter, some almost exclusively so.UPLAND FLUSHES, FENS AND SWAMPSDescriptionThese areas are wetlands found above the limit ofpermanent enclosure that receive water and nutrientsfrom groundwater sources as well as rainfall. It includesa wide range of mires and swamps, excluding thespecies-poor Molinia and Juncus swards. It is typicallydominated by sedges, rushes and grasses with occasionalwetland herbs, together with a carpet of bryophytes.Fe6All upland flushes, fens and swamps of0.5 hectares or more are eligiblefor selectionJustificationThis is a widespread habitat found across the uplandsof Britain that does not appear to have been properlyassessed.The area of such wetlands in Cornwall is about 500 ha,nearly all of which is on Bodmin Moor.Bo1All blanket bog of 0.3 hectares or more iseligible for selectionJustificationBlanket bog is one of the most extensive semi-naturalhabitats in the UK and ranges from Devon in the southto Shetland in the north. There is no agreed figure forthe extent of blanket bog vegetation but in terms ofnational cover of blanket peat soil Britain supports some1 345 000 ha.The small areas of what may be blanket bog onBodmin Moor need to be assessed to see if any can beconsidered to be the PHT, or whether they should beviewed as another habitat altogether. If they are blanketbog, then they are a very severely degraded form.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 21

RIVERSDescriptionThe rivers BAP priority habitat is based around threebroad features:• Habitats Directive Annex I habitat type Riverswith Ranunculion fluitantis and CallitrichoBatrachion vegetation;• headwaters; and• exposed river sediments.The important features of a river system vary from thenutrient-poor headwaters with few higher plants tothe richer lowland systems. The headwaters supportstoneflies, mayflies and caddis flies together with salmonSalmo salar and brown trout Salmo trutta. The lowlandrivers are more likely to hold fish such as chub Leuciscuscephalus and roach Rutilus rutilus.CALAMINARIAN GRASSLANDSDescriptionThe Calaminarian grasslands are associated with:• near-natural substrates such as serpentine;• river gravels rich in heavy metals; as well as• artificial mine workings and spoil heaps.The plant community is typically open-structured,composed of weedy or metallophyte species oflichens, bryophytes and vascular plants such as springsandwort Minuartia verna, thrift Armeria maritima andbladder campion Silene maritima. There are also rarerbryophyte species such as Cornish path moss Ditrichumcornubicum, lead path moss Ditrichum plumbicola,western rustwort Marsupella profunda and the liverwortCephaloziella nicholsonii – all of which are found inCornwall.OPEN MOSAIC HABITATS ON PREVIOUSLYDEVELOPED LANDDescriptionThis habitat specifically excludes the CalaminarianGrassland P38 above. The habitat is defined in terms ofstructure, rather than specific vegetation communities.It comprises mosaics of bare ground, open grassland,scrub and other fragmentary habitats. High qualityexamples may be characterised as unmanaged flowerrichgrasslands with sparsely-vegetated areas on poorsubstrates.Rs1All rivers are eligible for selectionJustificationThere is no clear understanding of what the totalresource of this habitat type is within Britain. The totallength of rivers and streams in the county is likely to beabout 5000 km, but it is not known how much of thatresource would be classified as PHT.A number of the rivers in Cornwall are known to beimportant for wide ranging species such as otter Lutralutra and salmon. These rivers are under a number ofthreats such as acidification and agricultural pollution.Ir1All calaminarian grasslands are eligiblefor selectionJustificationThe majority of this community is found in certainmining areas of northern England and North Wales.There are outliers in the highlands of Scotland andprobably on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall. It is adecidedly scarce community which is declining.The area of this habitat type in Cornwall is likely to berather small. No specific studies have been carried out,but examples of calaminarian grasslands may be foundon both the Lizard serpentine and certain old miningsites.JustificationThese sites mostly enjoy little recognition, their earlysuccessional communities and sparsely vegetatedareas being commonly mistaken as being of no natureconservation interest. Moreover, it is rare today for suchsites to survive long enough to acquire any value, whichmeans those that do exist are effectively irreplaceable.In Cornwall, as elsewhere, there has not been acomprehensive survey of all such land, though much hasbeen recognised through its importance for bryophytes.Invertebrate faunas can be species-rich and includemany uncommon species. Between 12 and 15% of allnationally rare and nationally scarce insects are recordedfrom brownfield sites.Bu1All open mosaic habitat on previouslydeveloped land is eligible for selectionCounty Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 23

4.2 Criteria for habitats that contribute to local natural character (LOCALHABITATS)LOCAL ANCIENT WOODLANDSDescriptionAncient woodlands are woodlands which have had acontinuous history of tree cover since at least 1600,some of which will be remnants of woodlands thathave been there for millennia. The majority of ancientwoodlands which were included on the CornwallInventory of Ancient Woodland will already have beenselected as some form of woodland priority BAP habitatThose that have not been selected are included hereLw1All woodlands where there is evidencethat they are both semi-natural andancient are eligible for selectionJustificationAncient Woodland is part of the biological heritage ofany county and is irreplaceable. There is only about3000 ha of ancient semi-natural woodland remaining inthe county, much of it recognised as being an importantwoodland priority habitat type.In addition to those woodlands on the Inventory therewill inevitably be some that have been missed and somethat were too small to have been included. Because ofthe importance of these woodlands at a local level, allwoodlands where there is strong evidence that they areancient semi-natural will be eligible.LOCAL MIXED ASHWOODSDescriptionUpland mixed ashwoods cannot be considered to bepriority habitat if the canopy is composed of 50% or lesssite-native species of trees or shrubs. This local habitatwill include all ashwoods with a typical ashwood groundflora even where over half of the trees are non-native.For example, site native trees do not include sycamoreAcer pseudoplatanus, an introduction and a relativelycommon component of ashwoods in Cornwall.Lw2All local mixed ashwoods are eligible forselectionJustificationThese local mixed ashwoods are often, generallyspeaking, nothing more than sycamore invaded uplandmixed ashwoods. Mixed ashwoods are amongst therichest habitats for wildlife and often have a relativelyrich and diverse ground flora. In a county such asCornwall, these woodlands are especially valuable,particularly in the west of the county where woodlandsof any kind are so thin on the ground.LOCAL PARKLANDDescriptionThe national PHT is restrictive in that there are sevenattributes that can be used to create a score towards thehabitat. This local habitat will encompass a wider rangeof parklands by looking at only four attributes.The local parklands will rely on old maps/recordsindicative of parkland. Within the parkland thereshould be a vegetation mosaic of open and woodlandcommunities with at least a small number of old trees.In addition there should be evidence of large herbivores,particularly livestock.Lw3All local parklands of 0.3 hectares ormore are eligible for selectionJustificationParklands are a distinctive and attractive landscapefeature which is rare in Cornwall. They invariably havewildlife interest which is different from continuouswoodland and they inevitably hold mature trees even ifthey are not veteran.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 24

LOCAL BOUNDARIESDescriptionThe typical Cornish hedge is sometimes referred to asa kind of ‘field bank’. These traditional boundaries areformed of earthen banks faced with stone. There may ormay not be shrubby vegetation or trees growing alongthe top. The vegetation along the top of an earth bankis considered to be a hedgerow and can be consideredfor inclusion within the ancient and/or species-richhedgerow PHT. However, the earth bank itself hasreceived no such recognition.The Cornish Hedge is a characteristic feature of thelandscape that affords habitat for a wide range of plantsand animals, some of which are priority species in theirown right.Lb1All local boundaries are eligible forselectionJustificationThe Cornish Hedge is unquestionably of significantimportance for its wildlife and the fact that it has notbeen selected as a priority habitat is due to the fact thatit has not been promoted rather than any intrinsic lack ofvalue in the hedges themselves.Cornish hedges are important for not only for thespecies that compose them, but also as wildlife corridorswhich link blocks of habitat and as features thatenhance the landscape. It is not possible to say that acertain percentage of them should be retained, as anyassessment of their importance is likely to hinge on adiverse number of judgements.LOCAL FLOODPLAIN GRASSLANDSDescriptionThis set of grasslands are those vegetation communitiescoded MG11, MG12 and MG13 in the NVC. The threegrasslands are subject to periodic flooding, the first twooften being found where the water is brackish. Thesegrasslands may be found adjacent to or in transition withother semi-natural communities. And again, while theyare not of the highest botanical interest, they do holdsignificantly more interest than the general meadows andpastures and other agricultural grasslands that typify thefarming countryside of Cornwall.Lg1All local floodplain grasslands areeligible for selectionJustificationThese floodplain grasslands are very rare in the countyand are often found as an important component of thesemi-natural habitat at the landward end of severalcoastal saltmarshes.LOCAL LOWLAND MEADOWSDescriptionThis brings together a range of grasslands that are clearlymore diverse and hold a range of flora and fauna whichhas often not been accorded much significance. Wemay particularly think of the MG1 Arrhenatherumgrasslands. These are grasslands which have disappearedfrom the wider countryside and now typically occupy somany roadside verges.pseudacorus variant or give consideration to the richervariants of MG7e.Also included are other grasslands such as themesotrophic grasslands classified as MG9 and MG10which are both typical of permanently moist sites mostoften found throughout the lowlands. Both of themare often viewed as little more than unproductiveagricultural land. However, their position in thelandscape often makes them part of a transitionbetween grassland to swamp, forming part of a mosaicof communities associated with damp soils. They alsocontain a wide range of flowering plants, albeit at lowfrequencies.Lg2The best examples of MG1 grasslandswithin an AOS are eligible for selectionJustificationThey are rather scarce, are a remnant of a once morewidespread grassland and have added floristic interesttogether with enhanced numbers of butterflies, otherinvertebrates and small mammals.Lg3The best examples of MG6 Irispseudacorus variant grasslands within anAOS are eligible for selectionJustificationThese grasslands are rather scarce in the county,generally being found in the damper bottoms of so muchof our farmland. They are threatened by drainage andother agricultural improvement.Those grasslands which now dominate the greater part ofthe farmland landscape might be characterised as MG7or the floristically impoverished forms of MG6. It hasbeen the norm to completely ignore such communitites.Nevertheless, at a local level we might think ofnotifying some of the elements of MG6 such as the IrisLg4The best examples of MG9 and MG10grasslands within an AOS are eligible forselectionCounty Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 25

JustificationThese grasslands may hold conspicuous stands ofbuttercups with smaller numbers of other flowers suchas ladies smock. Though these are not rare or scarcespecies of high botanical interest, they clearly mark thegrasslands as wildlife interest and enhance the characterof the local landscape.Meadows and pastures of any botanical interest werelost throughout the twentieth century. At the same timewetlands were drained. These wet grasslands are now ascarce remnant of what once existed and they continueto be under threat.While the floristic richness of any NVC vegetationcommunity may vary, we will not concern ourselveswith that judgement at a local level. All the seminaturalgrasslands of the county that remain are undercontinuing threat and efforts should be made to protectthem.UPLAND DRY ACID GRASSLANDDescriptionUpland dry acid grassland typically occurs as extensiveunenclosed pastures or rough grazing at intermediatealtitudes. Much of the particular character of theseupland grasslands, especially U4, derives from the factthat they are grazed.This habitat includes the unenclosed acid grasslandthroughout the UK uplands (normally above c. 300 m)including all acid grassland swards in old and nonfunctionalenclosures in the upland fringes.Acid grassland is characterised by a range of plantspecies such as heath bedstraw Galium saxatile, sheep'sfescueFestuca ovina, common bent Agrostis capillaris,bristle bent Agrostis curtisii and tormentil Potentillaerecta, with presence and abundance depending oncommunity type and locality. Dwarf shrubs suchas heather Calluna vulgaris and bilberry Vacciniummyrtillus can also occur but at low abundance.Lu1 All upland dry acid grassland of 3hectares or more are eligible for selectionJustificationUpland dry acid grassland is widespread throughoutmuch of the sub-montane zone of Britain, being stronglyconcentrated between 150 m and 500 m altitude. Itis found in much of the uplands of Scotland, the LakeDistrict, the Pennines, Wales and SW England.Upland dry acid grassland is characteristic of largeparts of Bodmin Moor. The total area would appearto be about 4500 ha. There may be smaller areas onthe uplands of Hensbarrow, Carnmenellis and WestPenwith, but whether they are more properly classedas Lowland Dry Acid Grassland – or some other habitat– needs investigation. In the north of the Moor, in thearea of Brown Willy and Rough Tor the wide expansesof semi-natural grazing are dominated by the U4community, whereas in the south of the Moor it is theU3 Agrostis curtisii community that is dominant.LOCAL PONDSDescriptionThe national PHT is restrictive in that there are five broadattributes that can be used to create a score towards thehabitat. This local habitat will encompass a wider rangeof ponds by looking at only four attributes with lessrigorous criteria.In general the pond should be both afeature of landscape importance and a wildlife refuge. Itfollows that any pond which is isolated and long-standingwith significant local populations of certain species(such as amphibians and Odonata) will certainly qualify.Lf1 All ponds where there is evidence thatthey are either wildlife refuges and/or significantlandscape features are eligible for selectionJustificationMany Local Ponds are important for certain wetlandplants and animal species such as amphibians. Othersmay be long-standing landscape features of local interestin addition to being wildlife refuges.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 26

4.3 Criteria for SPECIES GROUPSGeneral GuidelinesThese guidelines are applicable to any species foundin Cornwall. They are intended to guide the selectionof County Wildlife Sites (CWS) where this will aidconservation of the species. A site may be eligible forselection based on these species criteria, but it does notfollow that all eligible sites should be selected; eligibilityis just one part of the selection process. The specific aimfor CWS selection based on species criteria is to ensurethat some protection is accorded to all species that maybe described as being of some conservation concern.There are various reasons why species are deemed to beof conservation concern, including rarity, vulnerabilityand threat. There are several different ‘lists’ that canbe used to direct the process of designating CWS’sfor species interest. Habitat assessments are carriedout using BAP Priority Habitat lists alone, but BAPPriority species lists are only one indicator of speciesof conservation concern. Therefore, different lists havebeen combined to ensure that these species criteria forCornwall reflect both national and local conservationpriorities.Species Groups Criteria have been prepared for speciesthat are:• listed as a Cornwall BAP Priority species;• legally protected within the Conservation of Habitatsand Species Regulations (2010) or the Wildlife andCountryside Act (1981, as amended), or listed in theEC Habitats Directive (1992, as amended) or BirdsDirective (2009);• listed in a Red Data Book (RDB);• listed as Nationally Scarce; or• listed as a species of county importance.Certain species groups have been given particularattention because the amount of data available allowsspecific criteria for selection of County Wildlife Sitesto be set. At present, bryophytes, birds and herptileshave a scoring system to inform designation of sites.Vascular plants, butterflies, Odonata and mammals havemore detailed general information (but not a scoringsystem) to inform designation. Herptile and Odonatasites can also qualify based on presence of outstandingassemblages. In other groups, reliance on expertjudgement case-by-case will be necessary (see Appendix6 for details). We view this document to be iterativeand hope to update criteria regularly as data becomesavailable.For example, the list of beetles for Cornwall is quitecomprehensive, but there is very little informationon the distribution of each species and virtually noinformation on populations. For birds, we have anin-depth understanding of the distribution, populationand trends of many of the species in Cornwall,sometimes at a seasonal or even monthly level.Therefore the approach for beetles is to identify thesites where certain legally protected species or speciesof conservation concern occur and consider based onexpert judgement whether site notification would beappropriate. The approach for birds is more complexand may involve looking at all bird species that use asite, the range of species and their populations withinthe site, and presence of certain listed species.The approach taken in assessing species groupstherefore naturally diverges to some extent basedon availability of data and the nature of the species.However, the general summary below (criteria Sg1-5)encapsulates the approach for all groups. Details ofspecific selection criteria by species group are given inAppendix 6.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 27

SPECIES GROUP CRITERIA• FLOWERING PLANTS AND FERNS (VASCULARPLANTS)• FRESHWATER ALGAE, FUNGI & LICHENS• MOSSES AND LIVERWORTS (BRYOPHYTES)• INVERTEBRATES (EXCLUDING BUTTERFLIES ANDODONATA)• BUTTERFLIES• DRAGONFLIES AND DAMSELFLIES (ODONATA)• FRESHWATER FISH• REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS (HERPTILES)• BIRDS• MAMMALSThe species group assessments rely on five generalcriteria (Sg1-5 below). Details of criteria specific to eachspecies group are given in Appendix 6. Judgement ofa ‘significant population’ needs to be justified case-bycasewith reference to expert judgement.Sg1A site is eligible for selection if itsupports a significant population of aCornwall BAP priority speciesBrief descriptionA BAP priority species is either threatened or rare inWestern Europe or Britain.JustificationThere is an international or national responsibility forthe conservation of these species. Any species in thiscategory could benefit from site notification.Sg2 A site is eligible for selection if it supportsa significant population of a species listedon the relevant Schedule of the Wildlifeand Countryside Act 1981 (as amended),the Conservation of Habitats and SpeciesRegulations 2010, or the relevant Annexeof the EC Habitats or Birds Directive.Brief descriptionAny species listed within these categories is eitherinternationally or nationally rare.JustificationWhile these species are legally protected, it is useful toclearly identify where they occur before those placesare threatened. At a local level it is probable that sitenotification would aid their conservation.Sg3 A site is eligible for selection if itsupports a significant population of aspecies listed in the relevant British RedData BookBrief descriptionRed Data Book (RDB) species have been recorded in 15or less 10 km squares (hectads) of the British NationalGrid system. Any species listed here is threatened ornear-threatened in some way, usually because it is localand often rare.JustificationThese are species of high conservation concernwhich may not be either a BAP priority species orlegally protected. Site notification would be a sensibleconservation measure.Sg4A site is eligible for selection if it supportsa significant population of a nationallyscarce speciesBrief descriptionNationally Scarce species have been recorded in 16-10010 km squares (hectads) of the British National Gridsystem.JustificationNationally Scarce species are, generally speaking, inneed of conservation. Site notification would be of someadvantage to the majority of species.Sg5A site is eligible for selection if it supportsa significant population of a species ofcounty importance, or if it supports twospecies of county importanceBrief descriptionSpecies of county importance have been identified forsome groups, depending upon availability of data. Somespecies groups (bryophytes, birds and herptiles) havea scoring system to inform designation of sites. Others(vascular plants, butterflies, Odonata and mammals)have more detailed general information (but not ascoring system) to inform designation (see Appendix 6).JustificationInclusion of locally important species should ensureprotection of those species that are of local importancebut not included within national lists.County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 28

BibliographyBiodiversity Reporting and Information Group. (June 2007). Report to the UK Biodiversity Partnership: Report onthe Species and Habitat Review.CBI [Cornwall Biodiversity Initiative] (2004) Cornwall’s Biodiversity Volume 3: 2004 Action Plans. CornwallWildlife Trust, Truro. Available at: (version 28 September 2010).Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [DEFRA]. (2006). Local Sites. Guidance on theirIdentification, Selection and Management.Hawkswell, S (ed) (1997) The Wildlife Sites Handbook Version 2 The Wildlife Trusts.Jackson, D.L. (2000) Guidance on the interpretation of the Biodiversity Broad Habitat Classification (terrestrial andfreshwater types): Definitions and the relationship with other classifications. JNCC Report 307, 73 pages, ISSN 09638091.JNCC [Joint Nature Conservation Committee] (2007) UK List of Priority Habitats and Species. Available at: (version 28 September 2010).Lawton, J.H., Brotherton, P.N.M., Brown, V.K., Elphick, C., Fitter, A.H., Forshaw, J., Haddow, R.W., Hilborne, S.,Leafe, R.N., Mace, G.M., Southgate, M.P., Sutherland, W.J., Tew, T.E., Varley, J., & Wynne, G.R. (2010) MakingSpace for Nature: a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network. Report to Defra.Nature Conservancy Council [NCC] (1989) Guidelines for the Selection of Biological SSSIs.Planning Policy Guidance Note 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation (July 2002).Planning Policy Statement 9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation (PPS9) (August 2005).Ratcliffe, D. A. (1997) A Nature Conservation Review. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.Legislation cited in the text can be accessed in full at (version 28 September 2010).County Wildife Site Criteria for CornwallPage 29


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