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Fitosociologia 44 (2) S1 2007

pag. 37-47: The Habitats Directive in the UK: some wider questions raised by the definition, notification and monitoring of grassland habitats

J. S. Rodwell1, V. Morgan2, R.G Jefferson3 & D. Moss4

1European Vegetation Survey, 7 Derwent Road, Lancaster LA1 3ES, UK

2Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Monkstone House, Peterborough PE1 1JY, UK

3Natural England, Northminster House, Peterborough PE1 1UA, UK

4Dorian Ecological Information, Old Buck House, Buck Yard, Helhoughton, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 7BW, UK

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In the UK there are 76 Annex I habitats, including 23 priority types, and a total of 613 SACs have been designated covering over 25,000 km2 or 6.5% of the land surface.  There is an interpretation manual which provides a modular description of the habitat, a summary of the vegetation types included using a standard phytosociologcial scheme for the country, information about environmental relationships, extent and the rationale for selecting sites. Using examples from a variety of UK grassland types of wider relevance across Europe, this paper examines the quality of definition of the habitats and the extent of their designation within Natura 2000.  Details are also given of the UK monitoring programme and some difficulties of defining ‘favourable condition’ are reviewed.


Annex I, European Vegetation Survey, Favourable Condition, Habitats Directive, lowland grasslands, monitoring, phytosociology