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SW Nature Map - Methodology

Nature Map was created using the South West Wildlife Trust's 'Rebuilding Biodiversity' methodology. The objective of this methodology is to have functional landscapes for wildlife based on sound science.

Nature conservation has traditionally focused on the protection of special sites (for example designated sites and nature reserves). This approach has been successful in protecting wildlife within these specific sites, but the continued decline of wildlife in the broader countryside has left these sites isolated and fragmented. This fragmentation of wildlife sites has made the habitats and species within them vulnerable to change (for example to localised events or climate change) in an otherwise hostile environment.

Rebuilding Biodiversity goes beyond the protection of special sites and offers an opportunity for habitat restoration and creation. Crucially it provides a scientifically robust methodology for proposing how much of the landscape our wildlife needs if it is to survive in the long term (in terms of habitat size, quality and landscape context). This was completed by making use of available research, accepted ecological concepts and professional opinion to quantify Strategic Nature Areas (SNAs) for priority habitats in the South West.

SNAs are not designed to be solid areas of any one given habitat, but to contain a mix of habitat patches alongside other vegetation and productive land uses, with either the priority habitat occurring as a binding matrix in which other land uses are embedded or as numerous patches in a diverse mosaic, in keeping with the landscape character of the area.

The Rebuilding Biodiversity methodology is derived and adapted from the Eco-regional Conservation Planning system which was developed and applied over the last decade in the United States of America by the Nature Conservancy.

For more information please see the Rebuilding Biodiversity in the South West (PDF 2mb) report.