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Habitat classification survey

Habitat Surveys

Durham Dales Ecology undertakes habitat surveys to a variety of methodologies, depending on the level of detail required:

  • Phase 1 Habitat Survey - a basic vegetation survey, designed to group areas of similar vegetation into habitat types. This level of survey effort is sufficient for some developments, but may become obsolete in the future because of the introduction of the UK Habitat Classification.

  • UK Habitat Classification - a relatively new classification system (2018) which aims to create consistency across a number of organisations, allowing data to be transferable from one use to another. This type of vegetation survey is necessary for Biodiversity Net Gain calculations. Durham Dales Ecology provides this level of vegetation survey as standard, to ensure all data collection is adaptive, robust and future-proofed, and is conversant with a range of end uses.

  • National Vegetation Classification (NVC) - a detailed and comprehensive catalogue and description of the plant communities of the site. Because of their complexity, these botanical surveys take time to complete, and must be undertaken at the correct time of year (May-August, or slightly earlier in woodlands). NVC is based solely on plant species composition, so its application is limited in certain habitat types where floral characteristics are not the best tool for their definition. For example NVC does not take into consideration the structural composition of vegetation, and its suitability to support other wildlife. For this reason, Durham Dales Ecology undertakes NVC surveys only when specific information relating to plant communities is needed.

Habitat surveys are generally undertaken as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, although standalone habitat surveys can be provided upon request.


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Our initial consultation is free of charge, with no ongoing obligation. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your project.

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