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Ecological Assessment at Darwin's Landscape Laboratory

ECOSA were contracted by London Borough of Bromley to carry out JNCC Phase 1 habitat surveys and National Vegetation Classification, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate surveys at High Elms Country Park, and Downe and Shaws Camp Site. The Borough gained funding from SITA/Entrust 'Enriching Nature' project to undertake various surveys on chalk grassland sites which lie within Charles Darwin's home and workplace known as 'Darwin's Landscape Laboratory'.

Client: London Borough of Bromley

Objective: Habitat maintenance and management

The area comprising his house, experimental garden and seven square kilometres of the countryside immediately around Cudham and Downe, had been chosen as the UK's 2009 nomination for World Heritage Status and was submitted to UNESCO at the end of January 2009. It was here that Darwin developed and demonstrated his theory of evolution by natural selection through the study of plants and animals in natural settings.

The area preserves the character of the neighbourhood and many of the settings Darwin lived and worked in for forty years. Many of the plant, insect and animal species that he worked on there can still be seen in the habitats in which he studied them. The aim of the study was also to provide advice on how these important sites should be managed to maintain the features that Darwin studied.