Baling for Biodiversity

Welcome to the Baling for Biodiversity Project

Project Officer Neil Chadwick puts Baling for Biodiversity into action!

Background to the Project
The Baling for Biodiversity project is Heritage Lottery Funded and has both conservation and learning objectives and community involvement.  It is a two year pilot project managed by Hawk and Owl Trust in partnership with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Where will the project be concentrated
Over the two year period we intend to work on the restoration of up to 15 designated  Norfolk County Wildlife Sites in three geographic clusters – Fakenham / Dereham, Norwich Periphery/ Aylsham and Cromer.

The project will use Hawk and Owl Trust cutting and baling equipment to restore habitat for the ultimate benefit of barn owls and kestrels by cutting at appropriate times of year and by following NWT management protocol for scrub and tree clearance. This management regime will benefit a wide section of the ecosystem that the owls and kestrels depend on.

As well as physical work on sites, there will be opportunities for volunteers to be involved in species identification and monitoring, in educational liaison, in nest box installation and in development of interpretation material.

At our Sculthorpe Moor reserve the cutter and baler are used to manage various parts of the fen, reed bed and sedge beds by cutting in rotation.  For example, in September we produced over 200 bales of hay from the fen on the right side of the main drain – which is provides winter fodder for the Highland Cattle that graze the meadows.  We will also probably cut some areas of reed and sedge in the New Year.  Cutting and clearing reed in the winter strengthens it, while cutting in the summer weakens it allowing other, less dominant species to get established.