Powys Nature Recovery Plan, Ecological Networks, Opportunities to enhance grassland network.

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Opportunities around core habitat.

Opportunities around stepping stones.

Opportunities within the existing network.

Opportunities outside of the existing network.

Existing core and stepping stone habitat.

No opportunities.

Vice county boundaries.

Ecosystem function:

Opportunities to enhance ecological networks.

What the map shows:

The map shows core and stepping stone habitat in dark brown and opportunities to enhance the grassland networks in shades of orange. Darker shades indicate areas that are considered to be stronger opportunities.

How to interpret the map:

A well-connected ecological network with many, sufficiently large patches of core habitat increases overall biodiversity and resilience of species associated with the grassland network. This map shows opportunities to further strengthen the currently existing network within Powys. Opportunities around core habitats protect and enhance the core habitat that is already there. The increase in size makes the patch more suitable for sustaining various populations of grassland species, and reduces the decrease of existing quality habitat by forming a buffer to edge effect. Opportunities around stepping stones increase the size of the stepping stone, so it can be used by more species; they also have the potential to create core habitat. Opportunities within the existing network strengthen existing or create new links, making species movement through the network more flexible, whilst opportunities outside of the existing network create new stepping stones and, hence, expand the total extent of the network.

Why it is important:

Areas of core habitat within a habitat network benefit overall biodiversity levels, as the connections with other patches of core habitat enhances genetic diversity and, therefore, adaptability when faced with changing environmental conditions, e.g. climate change or changes in management. This helps to prevent local extinctions and, should local extinctions occur, facilitates re- colonisation.

How the map was created:

The grassland opportunities map was created based on the grassland network, to identify areas currently within/outside of the network. Additionally, all habitats within the area of interest were assessed for their suitability to be managed for the grassland network (e.g., habitats that are core habitats for other networks were not considered as opportunity areas). Similarly, sites containing Fridd habitats were excluded, as were nature conservation sites and historical features, which do not allow for habitat modification.