Natural regeneration: Its role in mineral site restoration

Mineral sites provide excellent opportunities for natural regeneration and natural habitat succession. Once common in the wider countryside, these important ecological processes and the habitats they support are now limited due to changes in agriculture and an intensification of land use.

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Lowland wood-pasture and parkland

Lowland wood-pasture and parklandis a woodland type that has developed through past management, rather than being a particular vegetation community. Where woodland has been grazed at moderate stocking levels for many years, it will develop an open park-like character.

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Lowland meadows

Grassland

Unimproved, semi-natural, neutral grasslands are rare – only 3% of the area of this species-rich grassland found in the UK in the 1930s remains. They are found on moist, low fertility, mineral soils with a pH of 5-7. Former mineral workings can be ideal opportunities for creation.

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Lowland heathland

Lowland heathland is found below 300 m altitude, on generally sandy soils, which also contain botanically important valley mires. Former mineral workings can be ideal opportunities for creation. It will take several years for the full assemblage of heathland vegetation and features to develop, but a heath-like sward can be achieved in 3-5 years in favourable circumstances.

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Lowland dry acid grassland

Unimproved, semi-natural, acidic grasslands occur on free draining, usually sandy, low fertility mineral soils with a pH of 3-5.5. Former mineral workings can be ideal opportunities for creation. The precise composition of the vegetation community will depend on the climate, aspect and particular soil characteristics. It will take several years for the sward to fully establish.

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Lowland calcareous grassland

Grassland

Calcareous grasslands occur on shallow chalk and limestone soils (pH 6.5-8.5). Former mineral workings can be ideal opportunities for creation. The precise composition of the vegetation community will depend on the climate, aspect and particular soil characteristics. It will take several years, once the grassland is established, for it to develop the full characteristics of the community.

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Lowland beech and yew woodland

floodplain woodland

Lowland beech and yew woodland includes a number of similar woodland types, where beech is the common factor. They occur on both acidic and calcareous freely draining soils. Oak is a common associate on acidic soils, and ash and whitebeam on calcareous soils.

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Landscape scale conservation

Over the past decade, there has been an increasing push from the environmental sector for a stepwise change in how we conserve our natural environment, moving from site-specific silo-thinking to a larger-scale, multi-site, multi-partnered approach.

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Island design

Islands are an important habitat feature, providing disturbance-free nesting for ducks, waders and terns. They are particularly valuable in providing both an ecological and landscape feature in large-scale waterbodies.

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Green Hay: a grassland seed source

Grassland

An alternative option in the creation of grassland is the use of ‘green hay’ from a local suitable donor site which can often lead to a sward with better productivity and species diversity than if sown with a commercially-bought seed.

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