Condition of SSSI units

Compiled: 01 Oct 2014

See the SSSI glossary for an explanation of terms.

Condition of SSSI units

Team - Cornwall, Devon And The Isles Of Scilly - SSSI name - St. Helen's (With Northwethel & Men-a-vaur) - Staff member responsible for site - Julie Webber
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Main habitat

Staff member responsible for unit

Unit number

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Unit area (ha)

Latest assessment date

Assessment description

Condition assessment comment

Reason for adverse condition

South West  Cornwall  Isles Of Scilly  Dwarf shrub heath - lowland  Julie Webber  1019104  25.94  08 Sep 2009  Favourable  The waved heathland is maintained by natural processes. A fire in the 1940's (caused by incnendiary bombs) has possibly had an impact on the frequency and cover of lichens and bryophytes also possible physiological impacts on some of the plants including Carprobrotus, Erica and Lotus corniculata - this should be monitored and possibly researched further. Scattered Coprosma and Pittisporum occur and required controlling. VPA's:Scrophularia scorodonia - appears to be stable and spreading accross one area. Rumex rupestris - At the time of notification (1986) Shore Dock was not present on the St Helen’s. Indeed, it was last recorded before 1971 (when Lousley wrote his flora of the Isles of Scilly). Unconfirmed record on Northwethel in 1980. However, Simon Leach (vascular plant specialist) has confirmed that the species should remain as part of the vascular plant assemblage, and that it should also be treated as a notified feature in its own right. The SSSI, however, is not a component part of the SAC, so Shore Dock is not listed as a SAC feature here. In terms of setting targets for Shore Dock, as long as the indirect (habitat) attributes are favourable, the feature will not necessarily fail if the species is absent. Shore Dock is a dynamic, mobile species, which exhibits great fluctuations in population. The main requirement is that suitable habitat is maintained. The problem within the Isles of Scilly generally is that Shore Dock has been in decline for some years, with increased storminess and coastal ‘squeeze’ leading to any gains in population being far outweighed by losses. But the reasons of this decline are largely to natural factors beyond our control, which should therefore not necessarily impact on the condition assessment of the site in terms of suitability for Shore Dock. Seabirds all either increasing in poulation size, stable or within the 25% threashold. HLS with IoSWT in place.    
Report completed.