ECOSA carried out a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal of all woodland sites, including SINC's, Commons, Parks, Pocket Parks, Local Nature Reserves and Green Space within the Borough's ownership. The assessment was aimed at establishing a baseline inventory of the ecological value of the sites.
A standard JNCC extended Phase 1 habitat survey was completed for each site and an assessment was made of the suitability of each site to support protected and Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species and habitats. This included an assessment of breeding birds, suitable habitat to support roosting and foraging bats, a survey of the distribution of mistletoe, an assessment of the abundance of deadwood habitats within each site using the Rapid Deadwood Habitat Assessment (RDHA) methodology, and an assessment of the number and distribution of veteran trees and the presence of invasive species.
In addition, more detailed invertebrate surveys were carried out at a number of the more valuable sites. The habitats and features of ecological interest on each site were mapped using Geographic Information System (GIS) software. From the baseline assessment, outline habitat management recommendations were provided to the Borough aimed at enhancing each of the sites' biodiversity value.