Botanical Survey

Graham Riley

Graham conducts an NVC survey

Wild Frontier Ecology has a number of capable botanists in the team with a wealth of experience conducting botanical survey of plant communities across the UK. We have worked in a variety of lowland and upland habitats including blanket bog, saltmarsh, woodlands, grasslands, aquatic habitats and heathlands.

Following a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, further (Phase 2) investigation of habitats may be required. National Vegetation Classification (NVC) is the standard method of assigning plant communities, and in semi-natural areas is important for gaining a proper ecological understanding of the habitat. It can also help determine whether Priority Habitats are present. Determining the correct NVC community is essential for appropriate management. It is a relevant technique for both development sites and sites of nature conservation importance. 

Botanical Services

  • Extended Phase 1 habitat survey
  • Botanical species lists
  • National Vegetation Classification (NVC) survey
  • Habitat mapping to NVC level
  • Sampling and mapping using GPS technology
  • Common Standards Monitoring for ditches
  • Habitat creation and restoration plans and planting recommendations
  • Invasive species survey


Thompson Common

Thompson Common

Project Examples

WFE undertook  NVC survey of Thompson Water, Carr and Common SSSI in Norfolk on behalf of Natural England as part of their ongoing monitoring of SSSIs. The surveys focused on identifying the communities for which the SSSI is noted, including a range of swamp, fen, woodland and grassland communities. The surveys provided detailed NVC maps of the site, detailed descriptions of the communities identified, target notes of key features, assessment of the management issues and recommendations. Advice was given on the effects of different grazing animals on the site, leading to options for changes in management.

Sphagnum capillifolium in the Welsh uplands

Sphagnum capillifolium in the Welsh uplands

WFE also worked on a potential wind farm development in the mountains of mid-Wales. We undertook a set of habitat and protected species surveys. The site consisted of nearly 15km2 of open mountain side with few existing tracks or roads. With the aid of aerial photos and GPS, our botanists undertook a full survey of the site to create an accurate Phase 1 habitat map and NVC mapping. This will aid the future site planning, identifying key bog habitats which should be avoided by the development.

Over 150 quadrats were sampled and 14 distinct habitat types were identified, ranging from mire to acid grassland, with a variety of distinct bog pool communities. The most common habitat type was Molinia caerulea-Potentilla erecta mire.