The effect of coppicing on species diversity - Physical Geography Essay Example
The idea behind doing this investigation is to find out whether the coppicing of woodland helps increase species diversity - The effect of coppicing on species diversity introduction. There will be two woodlands surveyed in this investigation, one of which has been coppiced recently and one which has been left for several years. The intention will be to record some results, which can be used to create charts and give us the information needed. We will have to take into account many aspects of the natural environment which may affect the results we take, these are rainfall, temperature, light, topography and light.
We will carry out the investigation at Wakehurst place July 2008. This is a Kew gardens site which is also part of the national trust. It contains broadleaf woodland which we would carry out our investigation. It is run mainly by volunteers through Kew gardens. It contains the millennium seed bank in its grounds.
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The coppiced woodland will have higher species diversity due to the fact more light is available and this will increase the availability for plant life to grow.
Firstly find all the equipment needed to carry out the investigation.
* 2 x 10m measuring tapes
* 1 x random number generator
* 1 x 50cm ï¿½ quadrate
* 1 x clip board with paper and some system for recording you results
* 1 x light meter
* 1 x thermometer
* 1 x soil ph testing kit
Before you carry out the investigation for real it is advisable to carry out a pilot test to identify any weaknesses which may be incurred during the experiment and it also gives you a good idea of what you will be doing when you arrive. Nothing substantial is needed just a field to find information of species diversity but also the number of organisms in the area as well to get really accurate results. The use of chi squared is advised.
1. Find two suitable areas which are similar which the help of the available staff.
2. Prepare a table to note down what species are found with room to note quantities.
3. Lay out two 10 meter tapes to create the area you want to survey. This will provide the coordinates for you to place the quadrat on.
4. Ideally use a random number generator to generate two numbers between 0 – 10 (this was unavailable for us so we used random number grid.) then find the point where the two numbers intersect which each other, then place the 50cm2 quadrat on the left hand corner.
5. On the table note down any species seen and the quantity
6. Repeat this sequence 10 times or until no new species are discovered.
7. Then repeat whole sequence in other woodland in order to have two sets of results to work from.
Coppicing woodland is a way of controlling biodiversity. It is the cutting down of trees and shrubs to ground level to allow re-growth and a sustainable supply of timber for future generations. Trees and shrubs that are cut down this way can produce shoots that grow over 30cm a week and a coppiced tree can live many years longer than if it had never been cut down at all.
Coppicing is done in small areas usually in a seven year rotation. The immediate effect of coppicing is that the amount of light able to reach the woodland floor is increased dramatically. This prompts the growth of flowers and all vegetation.
In a well looked after coppiced woodland the different sections (coups) will have different stages of re-growth this means each contains a different type of ecosystem.
Certain species of plant life have become dependant on the coppicing of woodland therefore constant management is needed to further this development.
We went to the site in July so there was a lack of flowers growing on the ground