A to Z of Ecology K is for Key Species

16 November 2015

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 November 16, 2015
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On any given bit of land there can be a lot of plants and animals, how can we tell which are significant for what we want to do with that land? There are a number of factors we can consider.

  • Rarity – this can be considered at different scales from rare in the local area to rare worldwide.
  • Relative importance of a site – even if you have hundreds of newts the county destroying a pond where they lay eggs or a wood where they hibernate is going to have more effect on them than building in areas well away from those sites.
  • Umbrella species – some plants and animals are important for other, for example bees play a major role in pollinating lots of different plants, some of them important crops.
  • Protected species – often of course we can cut to the chase, if a plant or animal is legally protected we have to deal with it. Protection is normally based on rarity but might take into account something being rare in the past even if numbers are now increasing.
  • Invasive species – this means animals and plants that are found in an area where they would not naturally be, are a threat to other species or damage property. An example would be Japanese knotweed, which outcompetes other plants, can grow through tarmac and is so good at spreading that soil with roots of it in is covered under strict waste laws.

Levan Ecology is able to identify what species are an issue on your site and to help you find the best way to deal with them.

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