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Studland Dynamic Dunescapes Project

Here at JPR Environmental we are very proud of the work that we do, not just the work itself but the positive environmental impact it has for wildlife, flora and fauna. Our work is varied and we enjoy working relationships with many Trusts throughout Southern England and Wales, including The National Trust.

A recent project we worked on for The National Trust was at Studland, as part of the Dunescapes project, and this has just been featured on the Today Programme on the BBC. Studland’s sand dunes had become over-vegetated and declined in biodiversity over the past 100 years. The works involved removing around 1.4 ha of vegetation and tussock roots (Molinia, Bog Myrtle), willow and birch scrub to expose bare mud and open water. Mud banks were reprofiled to create a gradated shoreline down to the water level and below.

You can read more about the project by clicking here.

Here is an extract of the interview on the Today programme on the BBC...

'Every week over the summer, we've been around the country looking at the work being done to restore some of our previous natural habitats. This week we're taking you to one of the best stretches of sand in England, Studland Beach, glorious place in Dorset and the Dynamic Dunes Project.

“So yes, I'm David Brown. I'm program manager for the National Trust in Purbeck. We're just standing outside the Discovery Centre, which is just at the entrance to the fantastic Studland Dune system. So about 250 hectares of sand dunes, the biggest sand dune system on the south coast of England and probably the most diverse and most ecologically important.

Because for various reasons, the rate to which vegetation grows on Dune systems has accelerated dramatically over the last 50 years. If we were to just leave it to itself, it would very quickly stop looking and behaving like a dune system. And it goes through a succession from sort of grassland, to heathland, to scrub, to woodland. And woodland is great; we need more woodland in this country. It is great for some species, but for the dune specialists, for all the rest that lives here, they need areas of open sand and of open dunes.”

“So, where we're standing here, we've basically scraped off the surface vegetation just down to that bare open sand. We created this one about a year ago and it's already got wildlife coming into it. So, we've got some of the kind of plants starting to recolonise it and all the way around the edges it's full of little insect burrows.”

“The challenge, though, is how do we keep it this way? And so, one of the critical things we've done here is reintroduce cattle grazing for the first time in 90 years. They like the sandy areas where they give themselves dust baths, they keep them open. They create a more complex, ecologically diverse habitat.”

“Hi, I’m Becky I'm an area ranger of the Purbeck countryside team. I've been tasked with running the grazing project on the dunes this year. So, we have ten cows, which are a Red Devon cattle. We are keeping them away from the beach using the ‘no fence’ system, which uses GPS control collars to create a digital boundary. So, the cattle are trained to respond to an audio signal. They learn if they continue through the audio signal, they do get a small electrical pulse, but they very quickly learn to turn around as soon as they hear the noise. We have had some ten-minute escapes, but they very rapidly go back into the pasture.”'

You can listen to the full segment here at approx 2:52:24.

“Over the last 22 years JPR has prided itself on the positive impact our work has on the environment and the close relationship we have with custodians such as The National Trust and many wildlife Trusts across the UK. The work at Studland is a great example of habitat restoration and the benefits this has for the future” said Tom Hyde, Head of Development at JPR Environmental.

If you are interested in more about the work that JPR Environmental did for the Dynamic Dunescapes Project at Studland head to the JPR website link.


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