Plant monitoring in Dovedale
Through the year, key species of plants and wildlife are monitored and recorded to give an indication of the habitat conditions and guide future management within the National Nature Reserve.
Each May, the rangers who look after Dovedale carry out a survey to monitor a rare woodland plant called Herb Paris (Paris quadrifolia). To give the plant the best chance of survival, the locations of the plants are only known by the rangers but we are pleased to know that there are several locations within the woodland limestone valley where the plants are continuing to thrive.
The plant is known to prefer damp wooded areas and is considered to be an indicator of long established woodlands.
The plant flowers in May, when the rangers spend half a day identifying the locations of the plants and then counting the number of flowerheads, the number of individual plants, and photographing the areas of growth. Fallen twigs are used to make portable quadrats on site to make the counting a bit easier.
The results are saved and compared with previous years, giving an indication of how well the land is being managed to help the plant thrive. Fencing has been installed to prevent grazing animals from trampling or eating the plant.