37 CAN members gathered at Cottons Hotel, Knutsford for the final event of the 2014/2015 calendar – the Phase 1 Habitat Survey Workshop, led by ecology consultant and botanical enthusiast Rachel Hacking.
Rachel guided participants through the guiding principles of doing surveys, beginning with desktop preparations and using mapping techniques. We then began to look at the classification of habitats using the JNCC criteria. The subjective categories of habitats was explained, including the difficult interpretations between semi-natural and plantation woodland. The classifications of grasslands from unimproved to improved were detailed, including tips on the indicative species of vegetation as well as incoporating ecologist ‘gizz’ towards reaching the appropriate classification.
We finished by first looking at how to use the baseline map to draw the classifications for easy habitat identification for clients/users of the survey data, and secondly with a brief glance at GIS and report writing, including what should go in the target notes! Members were given help and advice from Rachels experiences of doing Phase 1 surveys, including what to include in the data and notes, and how to map the habitats in the field using shorthand methods.
The workshop draws this events calendar to a close, and CAN wishes to thank Rachel for delivering the workshop. Members are eager to participate on her planned ‘Phase 1, Part 2’ event, which will be on the next calendar, to be announced shortly. Part 2 will be a field-based survey walkthrough.
Ecologist Tim Body has written a blog about his experience of the event. It can be read here: https://fromheretoecology.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/phase-1-can/