National SSSI Sample Survey of lowland heathland (ENRR291)

This was one of several pilot surveys undertaken by English Nature to develop a methodology for determining the condition of habitats on SSSIs, based on a sample of sites. They were part of English Nature’s integrated approach to biodiversity monitoring on SSSIs. This survey used the common standards for SSSI monitoring that had been agreed by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Approximately 25% of site units studied were in favourable condition and 26% in unfavourable condition but recovering. This reflects the work in recent years to implement positive management on SSSIs. When assessed by area, 59% of heathland was in favourable or recovering categories. Of particular concern were the 19% of site units in unfavourable but stable condition and the 27% of units in unfavourable declining condition.

A printed copy of this report is available from our Enquiry Service. Tel: 0845 600 3078 Email:

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ENRR291, PDF, 16.4 MB 2014/05/13