Management

FencingThe Pebblebed heaths have been occupied and exploited by people since at least the Bronze Age, with activities such as turf cutting, burning and grazing turning the once wooded area into the open landscape so valued today.

Although semi-natural, heathlands have high wildlife value and support species rare elsewhere. Without continued management, this threatened habitat can quickly revert to scrub, and ultimately to woodland. Although scrub and woodland also have significant wildlife value, because heathlands are now so rare in Europe, there is a need to protect those few areas that remain to ensure the survival of a distinctive landscape element and the specialised species that depend on this habitat for survival. Conserving biodiversity is not just about protecting the variety of species on earth. It is also about protecting the variety of habitats.

A number of techniques are used for managing lowland heathland for wildlife in southern England. These include grazing and removal of encroaching trees and scrub, burning (swailing), scraping and turf digging and mowing.  The techniques deployed depend on the site and the conservation objectives. In essence they seek to ensure that the habitats of highest wildlife value are maintained. 

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