The Carmarthenshire Volunteers have spent several work parties this month clearing scrub on a bit of lowland raised bog we manage at Carmel. This is important as the trees are drying out the bog, as well as shading out bog species and adding nutrients to the system.
With these trees gone it has really helped open up what was becoming a fragmented and impoverished bog, although more scrub clearance is necessary in winters to come.
This has been part of an ongoing project to help restore the bog. Since taking on Carmel in 2014 we have also introduced summer grazing , and cleared bramble from the drier areas. Last year, Ceri Evans (The Wildlife Trust's Conservation Officer) and volunteers, sunk plastic sheets to try and retain some of the run off water, and raise the water level. This has been successful and there is now standing water behind these dams. Freshwater invertebrates and amphibians are already using the water as a breeding ground.
We have also spent a few days working with Butterfly Conservation on private sites. This has primarily involved clearing bramble and scrub on Marsh Fritillary habitat to improve the sites for this scarce species. The sites were carefully picked using data Butterfly Conservation has collected through surveys. They are within areas that a meta population of marsh fritillaries are holding on, and where some land management would be most effective in trying to halt the decline in the species. This work is inline with our wider countryside conservation work that helps wildlife outside our reserves, it is particularly relevant when mitigating against climate change and habitat fragmentation.