Condition of UK Lowland Heathland Habitats

 

The condition of UK lowland heathland habitats has been assessed using Commons Standards Monitoring Guidance for Lowland heathland habitats. This involves making an assessment of individual sites using a series of habitat characteristics or attributes and standardised condition categories.

 

Sites are judged to be in favourable condition when the objectives for the habitat are being met. Sites with habitat that is in an unsatisfactory state are classed as in unfavourable condition. Where this is the case, a judgement is made as to whether the habitat is: (i) recovering – moving towards the desired state; (ii) declining – moving away from the desired state; or (iii) no-change – neither improving nor declining. Sites are classed as destroyed (partially or completely) when the habitat is no longer present and there is no prospect of being able to restore it.

 

Condition on designated sites

 

The tables below summarise information on the condition of lowland heathland habitat at a UK-level as reported in 2006-07.

 

On sites designated as SSSI/ASSIs and SACs, the condition of the majority of the habitat was either favourable or unfavourable recovering. Nevertheless, a third was unfavourable and did not show signs of recovery. Information from SACs on the four lowland heathland habitat types recognised under the EU Habitats Directive showed that the condition of these varied greatly: one habitat was entirely favourable; one was mostly unfavourable recovering; and the majority of the other two was unfavourable with no signs of recovery.

 

Since 2006-07 the condition of some coastal habitats has improved (e.g. see The State of the Natural Environment 2008).

 

Tables of condition of UK lowland heathland habitats

 

Click on the habitat links in the table for details – based on data from the Common Standards Monitoring for Designated Sites: First Six Year Report (2006) and the 2nd UK Report on Implementation of the Habitats Directive (2007)

 

A. Sites designated as SSSI/ASSIs

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

Destroyed or part destroyed

Lowland heathland

17%

47%

33%

3%

 

B. Sites designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

Destroyed or part destroyed

Lowland heathland

21%

43%

33%

3%

 

C. Sites designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) – broken down into EU Habitats Directive Annex I types

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

H4040 Dry Atlantic coastal heaths with Erica vagans

100%

-

-

H4020 Temperate Atlantic wet heaths with Erica ciliaris and Erica tetralix

19%

81%

-

H7150 Depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporin

[most of this habitat occurs in upland areas]

[43%]

[26%]

[31%]

H4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix

[most of this habitat occurs in upland areas]

[21%]

[28%]

[51%]

H4030 European dry heaths

[most of this habitat occurs in upland areas]

[6%]

[28%]

[66%]

[all tables created Dec 2010]