BSG Ecology

Phase 1 Habitat & Botanical Survey


BSG Ecology’s team of in-house specialists are all capable of carrying out standard Phase 1 Habitat Surveys. BSG Ecology has carried out thousands of these surveys across a wide range of habitat types delivering the surveys at varied geographical scales within the United Kingdom. Within our team there are ecologists who have the relevant experience and skills to carry out more detailed botanical survey work including National Vegetation Classification (NVC) and studies of individual plant species. This capability allows BSG to provide clients with high quality survey results coupled with appropriate evaluation, interpretation and assessment.

The applications of such work have included development of mitigation and compensation measures to offset the impacts of development; condition monitoring of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs); monitoring species to determine conservation status, monitoring species to quantify the impacts of development and the preparation of ecological management plans for rare plant species, botanical communities, habitats and nature reserves.

Habitat and Botanical Survey Capability

Our team combines wide ranging survey experience with technical knowledge and expertise that enables us to provide the capacity and capability to carry out both habitat and more detailed botanical surveys throughout the UK. BSG Ecology can enlist the help of regional sub-consultants to expand the team for large-scale contracts and when required, to provide specialist skills such as lower plant (lichens and bryophytes) surveys.

Our habitat and botanical survey services include:

  • Phase 1 Habitat Surveys of sites, districts, boroughs and counties
  • NVC of  semi-natural botanical communities
  • Bespoke Phase 2 botanical surveys for sites and habitats that do not readily conform to the NVC system, such as post-industrial sites
  • Monitoring communities and plant species to determine the impacts of management and to investigate the effects of biological and environmental factors
  • Phase 3 surveys of individual plant species, including protected, rare and scarce species such as Jacob’s-ladder Polemonium caeruleum, a maidenhair spleenwort Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens, fine leaved sandwort Minuartia hybrida, lizard orchid Himantoglossum hircinum and perfoliate penny-cress Thlaspi perfoliatum

Data Analysis and Presentation

BSG Ecology uses a range of mapping software tools tailored according to client need and budget. This includes GIS to map habitats, communities and populations of species. Such maps enable comparative analysis of the distribution and extent of habitats, communities and species. Maps are also used to correlate abundance and distribution of habitats, communities and species with environmental factors such as altitude, gradient, aspect and soil type.

We use statistical software programmes such as MATCH or TABLEFIT to classify NVC communities. Other software programs such as Cluster Analysis are used to investigate the results of sample plot data. Such investigations include the significance of relationships and/or similarities between samples that have been subjected to experimental treatments.

Consultancy Services

BSG Ecology undertakes surveys for a variety of private sector clients, including utility companies, civil and housing developers. We also undertake work for local authorities, charitable organisations such as the National Trust and government agencies including the Forestry Commission and Natural England. Several of the BSG Ecology team members have carried out botanical research projects and are actively involved in external botanical activities such as recording rare and scarce species. Attendance at conferences and workshops, and individual membership of specialist societies, including the Botanical Society of the British Isles, enables staff to be aware of research and contemporary issues and topics.

Our consultancy services include:

  • Desk-based habitat and botanical consultation
  • Preliminary appraisals of habitats, communities and plant species located within proposed development sites
  • Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys to expand the scope of the Phase 1 Habitat Survey to include simultaneous searches for evidence of legally protected species
  • Advice on legal protection afforded to habitats and plant species
  • Habitat and botanical impact assessments to inform planning applications
  • Development and implementation of botanical monitoring programmes including ‘community condition assessments’
  • Species population census studies
  • Method statements to ensure legislative compliance and minimise impacts
  • Appropriate Assessment / Habitats Regulations Assessment advice
  • Production of management plans for development and conservation led projects

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