• fern guide

AIDGAP and guide: Heathlands

Special offer for June 2021: an AIDGAP plus a fold-out guide for £10.


FSC Ferns AIDGAP features identification keys to all the ferns of Britain and Ireland. The author includes 59 species of fern, 6 clubmosses, 3 quillworts and 8 horsetails.

Designed for use with living specimens in the field, the Ferns AIDGAP guide starts with an introductory key to major groups. Further illustrated keys take identification to species level. Frond structure and shape are key to fern identification. In some species, the spore-bearing structures on the underside of the fronds are further useful clues.

Ferns and allied plants appeared 400 million years ago, around 250 million years before the flowering plants. Although ferns lack flowers and seeds, they are not primitive. Instead they spread through spores, a reproductive process shared with mosses and liverworts. The most visible parts are the spore-bearing leaves, or fronds.

Phase 1 survey guide: Heaths and mires

This guide will help you carry out a Phase 1 habitat survey in heath and mire habitats. There are 62 indicator species, following the guidelines set out in the JNCC Handbook.

Phase 1 habitat survey is a standardised system of recording semi-natural vegetation and other habitats. It provides an audit of semi-natural vegetation over large areas of countryside. Above all Phase 1 surveys help with the assessment of a site’s conservation importance. The end product of any Phase 1 survey is a map of habitats and a table of their areas. Also generally included are target notes highlighting features of particular conservation value.

Originally designed for rapid survey of extensive areas, the recommended scale of survey is 1:10 000. At this scale the JNCC handbook indicates a survey rate of between 1 and 6.5 square kilometres a day. The use of the system for smaller scale surveys (e.g. for farm stewardship or planning applications) often requires mapping at a much larger scale, which will take longer. County Wildlife Trusts and councils use Phase 1 surveys to obtain an audit of habitats of conservation interest in a region. Moreover Phase 1 surveys have recently become the standard minimum requirement of planning applications.