Moorland NVC survey, Scotland (2013)

It’s always nice to work with a new client.  It’s not so nice to work through two heavy rain weather warnings… Still, what can one expect in late October ? Can’t complain, no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes, and I am well kitted out, thankfully.  I’m also grateful for waterproof paper which makes it possible to map vegetation types and record quadrat data in even the nastiest downpours.

This site looked quite innocent on first viewing.  Nice and flat, long grass, what could be easier? Um, it turned out to be a blanket bog criscrossed with lots of lethally deep peat drains hidden by tussocky grass and cottongrass.  I haven’t seen the peat depth survey for this site, but I’d guess at at least 3 metres in one area, which was blessed with an abundance of bog myrtle and Sphagnum magellanicum, usually indicators of significant peat accumulation.  If you haven’t met Sphagnum magellanicum, it’s the rather large bog moss with the handsome wine red colour, viz:

Sphagnum magellanicum

I always get excited to see Sphagnum magellanicum, as it’s usually an indicator of good quality habitat.  Who knows how good this site would have been had it not been drained and cut over?  Probably amazing, but it’s still pretty good now and that’s always nice to see.  Even if I have to put up with a bit of rain 🙂

I have yet to write this one up, but when I do, the results are hopefully going to be used to target the proposed scheme away from the nice blanket bog insofar as possible.  Which is why I do this job – to help people design their projects better, so they avoid negative impacts on the environment wherever possible.

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