UK: Funding in the bank for woodland home of rare plant


A woodland nature reserve has been awarded nearly £50,000 to improve the prospects of the largest colony of one of the UK's rarest plants - Lobelia urens (heath lobelia).

Andrew's Wood, the 28 hectare site in the South Hams, received the money from Biffaward to improve 5.5 hectares of scrub dominated land that Devon Wildlife Trust acquired in late 2009. The new land offers fantastic opportunities for extending the reserve's existing lobelia population. There are only six known sites for Lobelia urens in the UK so all populations are vital for protecting this species.

lobelia flower
Lobelia urens is only known from six sites in the UK © Andrew Taylor

The funding will transform the new landholding into high quality, flower-rich pasture through a three-year programme of scrub and woodland-edge management. The scrub clearance is due to take place imminently, avoiding disturbance to breeding birds and resident dormice. The plan is to retain sufficient areas and diversity of scrub to allow these species to feed and breed successfully, with valuable flower and fruit-bearing guelder rose and alder buckthorn being kept.

Jackie Gage from Devon Wildlife Trust said: “Landscape-scale conservation is essential in the fight to save the UK’s threatened flora and fauna. As our climate changes, wildlife will have to adapt to the new conditions or move to new areas. Both strategies require large areas of continuous wildlife habitat. Devon Wildlife Trust is therefore keen to extend its nature reserves wherever possible. This Biffaward funding is vital to help us to restore rare pasture habitats across the newly-expanded nature reserve to good condition, allowing key flowering plant and animal species to consolidate and expand their populations.”

Find out more about Andrew's Wood

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