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Sites of Special Scientific Interest
 
SSSI unit information
 
Dixton Wood - Unit 1
 

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Staff member responsible for SSSI unit: Paul Hackman
 
Unit ID: 1024717
 
Unit area: 13 hectares
 
Main habitat: Broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland - lowland
 
Condition:   Unfavourable recovering
 
Latest assessment date: 09 November 2010
 
Condition assessment comment: The survey of deadwood invertebrates is a specialist skill, however a condition assessment has been possible by using a modified survey form that considers woodland structure and the opportunities that this presents for deadwood invertebrates (see attached). In summary, the assessment concluded that there is a higher proportion of older trees, few medium aged trees and some small areas of younger trees. There is plenty of both fallen and standing deadwood, there is at least 95% cover of native species in all canopy layers, and the woodland structure allows plenty of canopy gaps and areas of open space. Also there is plenty of elder, hawthorn and bramble which provides blossom for those deadwood invertebrates that require nectar for part of the their life cycle. However, the ground flora is generally poor, there is poor regeneration in the canopy gaps, and there is vigorous vegetation growth (mainly nettles and brambles) which may compete with the young tree growth. Whilst the poor ground flora does not affect the special interest (and was poor at the time of notification), the lack of replacement trees (particularly in the canopy gaps) is of more concern. The wood was in the Wildlife Enhancement Scheme (WES) which paid for tree surgery to extend the life of the existing trees and create suitable tree structure (pollards) for deadwood invertebrates. This will, hopefully, reduce the age-class gap of younger trees by extending the life of the older trees. Although on the face of it this work seems to have been quite successful, it is unclear as to whether there are sufficient opportunities for the deadwood invertebrates for which the site is notified. The site has therefore been assessed as unfavourable. However as the land is now under an HLS agreement, which can pay for further tree works and specialist survey work to determine the success of the work, the site is therefore considered to be unfavourable recovering.
 
 
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