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FAQ

Page Contents

1. Why do we need another environmental designation?
2. What is the relationship between Nature Map and Rebuilding Biodiversity?
3. Are all SSSIs, internationally important sites, nature reserves and protected species in an SNA?
4. How does Nature Map fit in with other sectors' priorities, e.g. historic environment, landscapes, socio-economy?
5. What plans are there to update Nature Map in the future?
6. Where can I find further details on coastal areas?
7. What about the white areas?
8. Why have only 10 habitats been included in the Nature Map? What about other priority habitats?
9. How can I find out what the priorities are within an SNA, and what projects are happening there?
10. How accurately are the Nature Map boundaries drawn?
11. There is a coastal buffer around whole coast except for Dorset, is this right?
12. Who did the digitising work for each county and then who was responsible for bringing it all together?

1. Why do we need another environmental designation?

The Strategic Nature Areas (SNAs) on Nature Map are not formal environmental designations. They represent large scale areas of opportunity. SNAs may comprise a number of formally designated sites as well as land that has no designation for biodiversity conservation.

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2. What is the relationship between Nature Map and Rebuilding Biodiversity?

The Nature Map was produced by the SW Regional Biodiversity Partnership through a lengthy consultation process. This was achieved through regional consultation using the best available biodiversity data, local expert knowledge and the South West Wildlife Trust's Rebuilding Biodiversity methodology. The South West Wildlife Trusts produced the Rebuilding Biodiversity approach to define a set of ecologically functional units at a landscape scale, which together can provide a minimum space needed to conserve key habitats and species across the region in the long term. A technical manual on Rebuilding Biodiversity is available in our publications section. Form this consultation the process selected landscape scale blocks of land, known as Strategic Nature Areas (SNAs), to improve habitat networks and to sustain wildlife within them.

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3. Are all SSSIs, internationally important sites, nature reserves and protected species in an SNA?

No. The methodology used to draw up Nature Map identifies key landscape scale areas, known as Strategic Nature Areas (SNAs). These have been identified as the best areas to maintain and expand (through restoration and/or re-creation) terrestrial wildlife habitats at a landscape scale. There will be overlap in the coverage of protected sites and SNAs as the map identifies where most of the major biodiversity concentrations are found and where targets to maintain, restore and re-create wildlife might best be met. However the landscape scale approach taken by Nature Map means that those protected sites that sit within a more isolated location (such as an urban reserve) do not lend themselves to a wider landscape scale project due to a lack of other habitats in close proximity.

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4. How does Nature Map fit in with other sectors' priorities, e.g. historic environment, landscapes, socio-economy?

Nature Map is a pure biodiversity map offering a spatial interpretation of the SW Biodiversity Implementation Plan. To help other sectors to use Nature Map it can be overlaid with other layers on GIS. We fully expect and encourage joint projects to be developed with other sectors.

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5. What plans are there to update Nature Map in the future?

The production of Nature Map is an iterative process. This first iteration was produced using the best available biodiversity data held within the region. There is a need to enhance/refine this data through further survey and mapping work. As work to implement SNAs at a local level progresses more refinement of boundaries will take place to ensure they truly reflect project development and conditions on the ground. A review of the whole of the region will take place in 5 years.

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6. Where can I find further details on coastal areas?

Coverage of coast in SW. The coastal areas are highly important. Buffer. Further work to be done. Contact local advocates. County BAPs. Terrestrial map.

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7. What about the white areas?

It is important to stress that land outside of the Nature Map areas also contains wildlife sites and species that are important in their own right. There are many different tools and mechanisms in place that contribute to their conservation, and Nature Map is a significant addition to the wider strategy for biodiversity conservation in the region. Local Biodiversity Partnerships and other organisations will continue to undertake work outside of SNAs where habitats and species found are important at a local level and will provide key local networks which in turn will support the SNAs.

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8. Why have only 10 habitats been included in the Nature Map? What about other priority habitats?

There are 10 habitats because this was stipulated in the Rebuilding Biodiversity methodology. All BAP habitats are important and have targets associated with them. SNAs will contain a mosaic of habitats, building on existing core areas and co-existing with other land uses, such as agriculture and recreation. The principal rivers are also included on the Nature Map as important linear features for biodiversity.

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9. How can I find out what the priorities are within an SNA, and what projects are happening there?

Local advocates (NB - A SNA designated for a particular habitat will comprise a given area of that habitat in a mosaic with other semi-natural habitats and other land uses. This at an overarching level will give an indication of what priorities exist at a landscape level for a particular SNA. However, work at the local level will build on this and develop this thinking further to define the priorities for individual SNAs. This in turn will inform or be informed by work being undertaken at a local level within these SNAs. Your local advocate will be able to provide more information about the development of any one SNA and any project currently being undertaken.)

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10. How accurately are the Nature Map boundaries drawn?

The SNA boundaries were drawn up using the best available biodiversity data and expert opinion. Although this was completed at a county level, the Nature Map takes a regional perspective and represents opportunities for habitats at this scale. The boundaries will therefore need to be refined with local detail from LBAP and Local Record Centres. Projects developed at a local level will also inform a refinement of boundaries.

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11. There is a coastal buffer around whole coast except for Dorset, is this right?

Within the Rebuilding Biodiversity Methodology there was no methodology strictly in relation to coastline habitats. Therefore a buffer of 500m was applied across the region to provide some coastal habitat provision. Dorset had more information about its coastal habitats and could therefore apply the Rebuilding Biodiversity Methodology. They therefore selected priority areas, much as other SNAs have been selected, which has allowed them to prioritise key SNAs along the coast instead of a 500m buffer.

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12. Who did the digitising work for each county and then who was responsible for bringing it all together?

Each county, usually the Local Record Centre, was responsible for digitising its own maps in the first round of discussions. In the second round this was completed under a contract. Once the county maps were completed, the Co-ordinator pulled together the layers and the final work was completed by BRERC.

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