Reedbed Habitat Restoration at the Wigan Flashes: Restoring the Post-Industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation

Research output: Contribution to conferenceLecture

Abstract

Wigan Flashes SSSI is a large area (245ha) that has been heavily modified by industrial processes, predominantly mining, in the last two centuries. This has left a variety of habitats which are dominated by subsidence lakes (flashes) that consist of open water and extensive reedbeds and scrub. In the last ten years work has been undertaken to restore the conservation value of the site. This was specifically targeted at bittern (Botaurus stellatus) although the requirements of other species were incorporated into the work. These species included avian reedbed specialists and the Water Vole (Arvicola amphibious). The conservation work involved major earthworks to unify the hydrology, reedbed lowering, ditch creation, reed transplanting via rhizome mats and scrub clearance. The management has led to the area improving the general quality of the habitat compared with the starting point, although it is not in an ideal state. However work has led to an increase in visits from the main target species, bittern. Almost all other secondary target bird species show a rise in numbers following the onset of management with subsequently some fluctuation, possibly weather related. Exceptionally Water Rail shows an initial drop then recovery and an increase. The value of the site to Water Vole has increased markedly from no records at the start of the project to its current level where the area is recognised as one of the most important sites for the species in the North West. The results show that by using and adapting traditional and more drastic land management techniques, the periurban, post-industrial landscape can deliver important regional, national and international conservation gains. Comparison with the theoretical ideal for the site allows the direction of future work to be identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages206-223
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventInternational Conference of the British Land Reclamation Society - University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sep 20109 Sep 2010

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference of the British Land Reclamation Society
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityPontypridd
Period7/09/109/09/10

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reedbed
habitat restoration
nature conservation
scrub
Site of Special Scientific Interest
earthworks
habitat
rhizome
open water
land management
water
hydrology
subsidence
weather
lake

Cite this

Champion, M., & Ashton, P. (2010). Reedbed Habitat Restoration at the Wigan Flashes: Restoring the Post-Industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation. 206-223. International Conference of the British Land Reclamation Society, Pontypridd, United Kingdom.
Champion, Mark ; Ashton, Paul. / Reedbed Habitat Restoration at the Wigan Flashes: Restoring the Post-Industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation. International Conference of the British Land Reclamation Society, Pontypridd, United Kingdom.
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Champion, M & Ashton, P 2010, 'Reedbed Habitat Restoration at the Wigan Flashes: Restoring the Post-Industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation' International Conference of the British Land Reclamation Society, Pontypridd, United Kingdom, 7/09/10 - 9/09/10, pp. 206-223.

Reedbed Habitat Restoration at the Wigan Flashes: Restoring the Post-Industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation. / Champion, Mark; Ashton, Paul.

2010. 206-223 International Conference of the British Land Reclamation Society, Pontypridd, United Kingdom.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceLecture

TY - CONF

T1 - Reedbed Habitat Restoration at the Wigan Flashes: Restoring the Post-Industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation

AU - Champion, Mark

AU - Ashton, Paul

PY - 2010

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N2 - Wigan Flashes SSSI is a large area (245ha) that has been heavily modified by industrial processes, predominantly mining, in the last two centuries. This has left a variety of habitats which are dominated by subsidence lakes (flashes) that consist of open water and extensive reedbeds and scrub. In the last ten years work has been undertaken to restore the conservation value of the site. This was specifically targeted at bittern (Botaurus stellatus) although the requirements of other species were incorporated into the work. These species included avian reedbed specialists and the Water Vole (Arvicola amphibious). The conservation work involved major earthworks to unify the hydrology, reedbed lowering, ditch creation, reed transplanting via rhizome mats and scrub clearance. The management has led to the area improving the general quality of the habitat compared with the starting point, although it is not in an ideal state. However work has led to an increase in visits from the main target species, bittern. Almost all other secondary target bird species show a rise in numbers following the onset of management with subsequently some fluctuation, possibly weather related. Exceptionally Water Rail shows an initial drop then recovery and an increase. The value of the site to Water Vole has increased markedly from no records at the start of the project to its current level where the area is recognised as one of the most important sites for the species in the North West. The results show that by using and adapting traditional and more drastic land management techniques, the periurban, post-industrial landscape can deliver important regional, national and international conservation gains. Comparison with the theoretical ideal for the site allows the direction of future work to be identified.

AB - Wigan Flashes SSSI is a large area (245ha) that has been heavily modified by industrial processes, predominantly mining, in the last two centuries. This has left a variety of habitats which are dominated by subsidence lakes (flashes) that consist of open water and extensive reedbeds and scrub. In the last ten years work has been undertaken to restore the conservation value of the site. This was specifically targeted at bittern (Botaurus stellatus) although the requirements of other species were incorporated into the work. These species included avian reedbed specialists and the Water Vole (Arvicola amphibious). The conservation work involved major earthworks to unify the hydrology, reedbed lowering, ditch creation, reed transplanting via rhizome mats and scrub clearance. The management has led to the area improving the general quality of the habitat compared with the starting point, although it is not in an ideal state. However work has led to an increase in visits from the main target species, bittern. Almost all other secondary target bird species show a rise in numbers following the onset of management with subsequently some fluctuation, possibly weather related. Exceptionally Water Rail shows an initial drop then recovery and an increase. The value of the site to Water Vole has increased markedly from no records at the start of the project to its current level where the area is recognised as one of the most important sites for the species in the North West. The results show that by using and adapting traditional and more drastic land management techniques, the periurban, post-industrial landscape can deliver important regional, national and international conservation gains. Comparison with the theoretical ideal for the site allows the direction of future work to be identified.

M3 - Lecture

SP - 206

EP - 223

ER -

Champion M, Ashton P. Reedbed Habitat Restoration at the Wigan Flashes: Restoring the Post-Industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation. 2010. International Conference of the British Land Reclamation Society, Pontypridd, United Kingdom.