Please note: Following input from detailed ecology surveys and community engagement in 2022, some project details have been changed. This will be reflected in updated management plans which have been presented at community engagement walks at the project sites and which we will share in more detail in 2023.
Concrete conservation actions to be carried out at Raven Point include:
C1 Collection and cultivation of 2130 * characteristic species of the habitat
C3 Elimination of senescent forest plantations and removal of isolated invasive trees, to improve habitat 2130*
C5 Habitat restoration 2130 * through the use of its characteristic species
C9 Protection measures against anthropogenic conditions in the habitat 2130 *
Seed collection and cultivation will take place in habitat 2130* at Raven Point and in the adjacent sand dunes at Curracloe. This will provide a source of locally sourced seed for use in restoration work after the trees have been cleared from the dunes in accordance with the management plan.
In total, 15 ha of woodland formations will be restored to sand dune habitats over the course of the project, resulting in a 66% increase in area by 2130*. Forestry activities will almost certainly include felling and removal of trees (logs and branches), thinning, and removal of isolated invasive trees from fixed dunes. Depending on site conditions, stump removal will take place in some of the more exposed areas to allow natural processes to return. Stumps will be preserved in strategic locations to reduce the risk of extreme erosion events during storm events. An area of c. 38 ha where felling and restoration works will be concentrated, but the exact location of the works will be decided based on preparatory actions A. Isolated invasive trees located beyond the forest plantation boundary will be removed from an area of approximately 3ha.
Reseeding with seeds from local dunes collected in action C1 will be used in parts of the site that will be restored to type 2130*. Given the exposed location, planting is likely to be made easier by incorporating the seeds into a sticky mulch, a method that is widely used and rigorously tested on golf courses elsewhere. Heterogeneity will be sought at planting time, providing a variety of successive stages within the restored area, maximizing the diversity of plant communities.
Signage, clearly defined trails, and temporary fencing will be used to manage access and prevent damage to the newly restored dunes as a result of recreational use.
Monitoring and communication will take place as part of these actions:
D1 Monitoring of the impact of the project on island habitats
E1 Strategy for communication, awareness and public dissemination of the results of the project
Project monitoring and results will be a key part of the project and will allow the impact of the works to be assessed on the 2130* status at Raven Point. Communicating the results with local people and eNGOs will be a vital part of the community engagement aspect of the work and will improve the long-term likelihood of success of the project. The results of the monitoring and community engagement will inform the long-term management strategy for the site and help identify the most successful aspects of the project that can be applied elsewhere.