Request for Quotation for Wildfowl energetics, the profitability of functionally linked land and the extent of habitat required to support protected populations
Defra Network eTendering Portal | Published November 15, 2016 - Deadline December 9, 2016
Defra procuring on behalf of Natural England:
Functionally linked land describes undesignated areas lying beyond the boundary of a protected site that is nevertheless used by classified bird populations. Where an essential ecological function, such as foraging, occurs beyond a site boundary, this area is termed functionally linked land, or is known as functional habitat. As the presence of this land is essential in meeting a species’ needs, damage or deterioration of this habitat could in turn impact upon the classified population. The presence of functional habitat is frequently associated with bird species that use farmland because, with a few exceptions, farmland has not tended to be incorporated within protected site boundaries. Wildfowl, in particular, make significant use of functional farmland habitat (in some cases foraging almost exclusively beyond the site boundary) and, owing to their large foraging distances, can be found well inland of the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which were, in part, classified for their non-breeding populations. Natural England has recently seen an increase in planning consultations (e.g. for solar energy schemes) with the potential to affect areas of functionally linked land used by SPA/Ramsar waterbirds. We also have to consider in-combination and cumulative effects, and it is therefore not possible to dismiss impact for projects on account of their comparative scale when considered alone. For example, potentially 1,000s of ha of functionally linked land around one SPA could be impacted in total when solar energy schemes and other projects are considered together.
The overall aim of the work is to produce a generic tool that can be adjusted by the end-user (i.e. Natural England members of staff) to take into account site-specifics (e.g. species present, population size, arable rotation / local farm practice).