Woodland Monitoring Survey

Alluvial woodland, photo by Kate McNutt

Client: National Parks & Wildlife Service

Under Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive, Ireland has an obligation to monitor and assess the conservation status of habitats listed under Annex I, including woodlands.  From 2003 to 2008, BEC Consultants conducted the National Survey of Native Woodlands.  Using baseline data from that survey, a project was carried out from 2011 to 2012 to monitor the conservation status of two Annex I woodland habitats:

  • Old Sessile Oak Woods with Ilex and Blechnum (91A0)
  • Alluvial Forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (91E0)

This was the first monitoring survey of Annex I woodland habitats to be carried out in Ireland.  It involved field surveys of 101 samples of woodlands, ranging in size from 4 to 10 ha, across the country.  Condition and conservation status were 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 results of the survey fed into Ireland’s 2013 Article 17 Conservation Status Assessments and enabled a national assessment to be made of the conservation status of sessile oak woods and alluvial forests in Ireland.