The High Weald Biodiversity Statement provides a synthesis of the information and data on the biological diversity and ecological importance of the Kent and Sussex High Weald.
The Statement brings together information from across portions of three counties (biological data is typically collated on a county-wide basis) and represents an important first step in building a more comprehensive picture of what exactly is characteristic, distinctive and special about the biodiversity of the High Weald AONB.
The report will be useful to policy and decision makers, project development officers and landowners/managers developing site management plans.
Descriptions of what makes the area's habitats special are accompanied by maps of habitat extent in the High Weald AONB and habitat species lists: those considered to be particularly distinctive or notable aswell as those considered to be commonly associated. The report also highlights shortfalls and gaps in what is currently known about the region's biodiversity.
The report concludes:
• The range of habitats and landscape features found in the High Weald AONB collectively support a diversity of species.
• The importance of the region's biodiversity stems not only from the rarity and variety of these species, but also from the ancientness, interconnectedness and heterogeneity of the habitats that support them.
• It is essentially the medieval origin of the High Weald landscape (and, in some cases, its prehistoric origin), along with the existence of a patchwork of small-scale and linear landscape features created through long-standing human-environment interactions, which combine to significantly enhance the region's ecological connectivity, resilience and, ultimately, biodiversity value.
The statement provides supporting evidence for the High Weald AONB Management Plan which highlights the importance of biodiversity in the area and promotes the key role that the High Weald AONB plays in biodiversity conservation as part of a wider network of IUCN Category V Protected Landscapes.