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It has been another successful year for our dedicated volunteers who are helping to monitor plant populations in the Brecks.
Members of the Breckland Flora Group created records for 35 of the Brecks special species in 2022/23 – including a second site for an endangered plant.
Although the summer heat made survey conditions difficult, 45 group members took the time to count, map and photograph plants. Together, they created records for:
After receiving training and support from Plantlife, the group once again collected superb quality data during the year.
Three plants of Field Wormwood Artemisia campestris were found in Beck Row, making it the fourth native site for this priority species in the UK. Excitingly, a second site in Thetford was confirmed for Creeping Marshwort, Helosciadium repens, which has almost certainly spread from the site found upstream in 2020. This is a significant discovery, as this endangered species is only found at three locations across the country.
Other highlights included:
The group’s partnership with Plantlife, Natural England and Forestry England helps to maximise its influence. Thanks to its members, we were able to send 55 survey reports to landowners. As well as showing the importance of the species on their land, these reports also demonstrated the positive impact their management techniques are having.
The 2022/23 data showed a dwindling population of Spanish catchfly on Forestry England land at West Harling. As a result, Norfolk Wildlife Trust is turfing strip plots to create bare ground which the plant can hopefully colonise onto.
Further north in Ickburgh, records of Tower Mustard Arabis glabra on a road verge have led to its designation as a Roadside Nature Reserve. As a result, the site will now be managed for its benefit.
A working group has also been set up to focus on the conservation of Spring Speedwell Veronica verna. Trials to investigate the habitat requirements of this rare species are now taking place at 9 sites. By comparing germination and survival to fruiting rates, we hope to discover more about how best to support populations in the future.
Emma TovellResponsible Officer at Natural England (Nov 2022)
The dedication of hundreds of National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS) volunteers across the UK is continuing to support research into the health of our habitats.
We have enhanced habitats at Greena Moor, our culm grassland nature reserve in north Cornwall, for the benefit of three critical species.
Plantlife has continued to lead the biggest sand dune restoration works ever attempted in the UK, with impressive results.