CHALK GRASSLAND WITH SCRUB
We have our very special chalk grasslands supporting a wide range of plants and invertebrates. Watlington Hill with its patchwork of grassland is an instantly recognisable part of the Chiltern countryside. Grasslands play a key role in storing carbon in the soil; the more biodiverse they are the better they are at storing carbon, and here in Watlington we have that high level of diversity with up to 40 species per square meter.
The chalk is interspersed with areas of scrub of different heights, which is important for creating a tapestry of habitats and increases the number of species in the area.
WOODLANDS & TREE PLANTING
Although tree planting has been identified as key for carbon sequestration, we are conscious that a wide range of natural and semi-natural habitats play a role in carbon sequestration, as does well-managed farmland with soils rich in organic matter. Watlington’s Green Plan will seek to identify suitable sites for tree planting and ensure that the right species are planted in the right place, and are then managed appropriately.
Watlington already has a number of Road Verge Nature Reserves, thanks to Watlington Environment Group. Instead of indiscriminate mowing of verges they can be managed for biodiversity, allowing wildflowers to grow, and attracting pollinators.
Watlington’s spring-fed chalk streams are a very special feature; such streams are a globally rare habitat, found only in southern England and parts of France. Their clear waters support invertebrates and trout and they create valuable biodiversity corridors
Most of the green space within the town is in the form of gardens, so we can all help to make our gardens as wildlife-friendly as possible and plant for biodiversity and carbon sequestration.
Agricultural land is the single largest land use around Watlington, so understanding how we can support landowners and farmers to improve biodiversity and carbon sequestration is a key objective.