The Wildlife Sites System

The system for identifying Wildlife Sites in Northamptonshire is based on a partnership involving the Wildlife Trust, local authorities, statutory conservation agencies, local naturalists and landowners.

When designating a site, the following regarding habitat and species information are taken into account:

  • National priorities,
  • local distinctiveness,
  • threats and declines.

The system does not try to identify all sites of importance for wildlife in Northamptonshire, only those of substantial quantifiable value. For example, for an area of calcareous grassland to achieve Local Wildlife Site status it must meet one of three thresholds:

  1. Calcareous grasslands supporting good examples of at least 0.1 ha in size of one of the calcareous grassland NVC communities,
  2. Calcareous grassland sites of 0.1 ha or more in size that support populations of either six or more strong calcareous grassland indicator species, or sixteen or more calcareous grassland species in total,
  3. Sites supporting populations of more than 50 grassland species.

It is often however not that straightforward, and a number of other supplementary factors must be taken into consideration. These include historical documentation or features, linkages with sites of National or International importance, and the presence of a range of sub-habitats within the site.