Monitoring and assessment of four EU Habitats Directive Annex I woodland habitats 2017-2018

Client: National Parks & Wildlife Service

oak canopy at Glen of the Downs, Co. Wicklow (August 2017). Photo by Orla Daly

Oak canopy at Glen of the Downs, Co. Wicklow (August 2017). Photo by Orla Daly

Ireland has four Annex I woodland habitats which the country is obliged to evaluate and report on every six years under Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive. These comprise:

  • 91A0 Old sessile oak woods with Ilex and Blechnum in the British Isles
  • 91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior
  • 91D0 Bog woodland, and
  • 91J0 Taxus baccata woods of the British Isles

The baseline 91A0 and 91E0 Woodland Monitoring Surveys of 2011-2012 were conducted by BEC Consultants on behalf of NPWS. Internal NPWS staff conducted the 91D0 and 91J0 Woodland Monitoring Surveys 2011/2012. In 2017, NPWS commissioned BEC Consultants to carry out the monitoring and reassessment of all four Annex I woodland habitats. The monitoring survey entailed assessing a total of 123 sites. Condition and conservation status are assessed by comparing measured indicators, such as presence of indicator species, amount of dead wood and numbers of tree saplings, with target threshold values. The project report describes the monitoring methodologies used and gives the conservation assessment results for all 123 sites monitored.  The impacts and activities affecting the sites are also presented and discussed.

The data collected during the monitoring surveys formed the basis for a National Conservation Assessment (NCA) for the four Annex I woodland habitats, covering the period 2013-2018. NCAs report on the Range, Area, Structure and Functions, and Future Prospects of these habitats. This is the third round of reporting carried out under Article 17 where the conservation status of these Annex I woodland habitats were assessed.