Ghyll woodlands of the Weald: characterisation and conservation

Burnside, Niall, Metcalfe, Daniel J., Smith, Roger and Waite, S. (2006) Ghyll woodlands of the Weald: characterisation and conservation Biodiversity and Conservation, 15 (4). pp. 1319-1338. ISSN 0960-3115

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Abstract

Ghylls are linear valley features cut into the sandy beds of the Weald of south-eastern England. The ghyll's indigenous woodlands are highly species rich at the small scale, support distinctive assemblages of cryptogamic plants, and are unique to south-east England. Field surveys were carried out for 48 ghyll woodlands in the Weald with a GIS used to examine the ecology, landform and conservation status of the ghyll woodlands. The data were analysed using spatial and multi-variate techniques in order to identify sub-groups or ghyll woodland communities based upon species composition, topography and geology. The ghylls are shown to be reasonably uniform for canopy vegetation type and structure and for their geological and soil characteristics. However, analysis shows that geomorphology, understorey and field layer variability may act as stronger indicators of site conditions and character. Further analysis focused on the level and extent of nature conservation protection that these unique and ancient systems receive. The study concludes that despite their ecological importance and potentially international significance, ghyll woodlands are poorly understood and protected.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biodiversity conservation; Geographical information systems; Ghyll woodlands; The Weald; Woodland characterisation
Subjects: F000 Physical Sciences > F800 Physical Geography and Environmental Sciences > F850 Environmental Sciences
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1007/s10531-005-3875-5
Faculties: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environment and Technology
Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environment and Technology > Ecology, Landscape and Pollution Management
Depositing User: editor environment
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2013 14:18
URI: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1158

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