Maritime chalk habitats have a long history of study; the flora of cliffs and maritime chalk grasslands have been described in detail and their nature conservation importance recognised. Marine chalk communities have not received the same degree of attention until recently, when the accelerated rate of loss of marine chalk and chalk cliff face in the southeast of England was recognised by the Nature Conservancy Council as a result of coastal planning applications. Subsequent studies demonstrated that marine chalk was a scarce habitat in Britain and Europe, with England holding a large proportion of this international resource. The chalk cliff resource and its marine nature conservation importance in Britain are briefly reviewed. The report was originally written by S L Fowler in early 1990, but not circulated by NCC at this time, this version was slightly updated.
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