Woodlands and forests

CoillteNATURE Project (Client: Coillte Teo.)

Blackthorn Ecology provided ecological expertise to Coillte on management of biodiversity throughout their forest estate. This work will help Coillte meet their sustainable forest management obligations under Forest Stewardship Council certification and under the Irish national Code of Best Forest Practice. Blackthorn Ecology developed criteria and indicators for identifying High Conservation Value Forests and woodland Biodiversity Areas. Field and desk-based biodiversity indicators were defined by conducting detailed reviews of the literature followed by rigorous field testing. The final sets of criteria and indicators were piloted using GIS analysis of the Midlands District. Potential High Conservation Value Forests and woodland Biodiversity Areas were mapped. Blackthorn Ecology recommended several measures for implementing biodiversity criteria and indicators throughout Coillte’s forest management and operations.

North Midlands Botanical Surveys (Client: NPWS)

Dr Smith was the project manager and lead ecologist for a series of ecological surveys of three designated areas for the North Midlands Region of the National Parks and Wildlife Service: St. John’s Wood, Co. Roscommon in Lough Ree Special Area of Conservation, Annagh Lough Natural Heritage Area, and Ballynafid Lake Natural Heritage Area. The surveys included walkover plant species recording, vascular plant and bryophyte recording in quadrats, woodland structural analyses and habitat mapping of woodlands, lake and marginal wetlands. In St. John’s Wood, notable individual trees were surveyed in detail, mapped using GPS, and tagged. The survey results were analysed quantitatively to assess the effects of current and past management on biodiversity. Management recommendations were made in relation to woodland coppicing, control of Rhododendron and other invasive plants, potential impacts of visitor access on a rare plant species (Pyrola rotundifolia) and future monitoring