Habitat Assessments & Botanical Surveys
DAFOR scale botanical survey
Areas of potentially greater botanical diversity identified in a Phase 1 Habitat survey may be surveyed using the DAFOR botanical scale, with notes made on species abundance (Dominant; Abundant; Frequent; Occasional; Rare).
The whole survey area is walked recording species presence including indicator/notable plant species, and areas of particular interest.
Though it is less detailed than NVC it provides a better indication of the species diversity of an area than a Phase 1 survey and is best undertaken when wildflowers and grasses are in bloom, usually May-August.
Phase 1 Survey
This is a basic survey which follows the protocol published by Natural England and comprises the mapping of habitats using standard colour codes, with target notes for features of interest.
Our team are able to carry out general habitat surveys such as Phase 1 and Extended Phase 1 Habitat surveys, as well as more detailed botanical surveys such as a National Vegetation Classification (NVC).
Extended Phase 1 Surveys
An Extended Phase 1 Survey includes, in addition to the above, the identification of protected and notable species such as bats, great crested newts and badgers, signs of their presence, and habitats that have the potential to support these species.
We provide a written report with a desk study including legal and planning context, results, evaluation and recommendations including whether further surveys are required. This is undertaken in accordance with standard protocol based on methodologies and recommended best practice set out in the Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment in the UK and Ireland (CIEEM 2016) and Handbook for Phase 1 Habitat Survey – a technique for environmental audit (JNCC 2010).
Phase 1 and Extended Phase 1 Surveys can be carried out at any time of year, although accurate identification of vegetation is better in spring or summer.
National Vegetation Classification (NVC)
This is a detailed botanical survey method that helps to identify and monitor the community of plants in a habitat. An NVC survey may be commissioned following the identification of interesting habitats from a Phase 1 survey or historic data.
Using quadrats of 2 square metres for grasslands (larger for woodlands), an NVC survey records all plants present in similar stands of vegetation with percentage cover for all species using the DOMIN scale. The results can be used as baseline data for future monitoring and/or to inform habitat management plans.
NVC is best undertaken when wildflowers and grasses are in bloom, usually May-August (optimum time June-July).
See NVC User’s Guide (Rodwell, J.S. 2006) & the JNCC's National Vegetation Classification page for more information.