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Bradda Head Restoration 26 January 2004

The Wildlife and Conservation Office of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is currently exploring the feasibility of purchasing a seed harvester to collect the seed of wild plants in the Island. This follows the report to DAFF by the consultants from the peak district who have considerable knowledge and practical experience of heathland restoration after burning.

The suggestion has come as a result of analysing the damage caused to Bradda Head by a severe fire in October last year and reviewing future options for restoration of what was an important area of coastal heath. One of the options for regeneration would be to reseed vulnerable areas, where accessible, with heather seed harvested from native plants.

The harvesting of seeds and reseeding for the subsequent growing season can only proceed as nature dictates, and will now depend on next years autumn heather seed crop. However, about 35 - 50% of the burnt area on Bradda is expected to regenerate of its own accord. Though scorched, the seed bed there is still intact. In other places more severe burning has removed the seed bank in the peat or the peat has been burnt off entirely.

Meanwhile, the Wildlife and Conservation Office has been involving in determining land ownership in the affected areas. It has also been bringing parties together to identify a united approach to encourage regeneration of the Bradda area.

The Department is working with a number of organizations which are involved with the situation. Manx National Heritage, the Wildflowers of Mann and Manx Wildlife Trust, as well as the ecological consultants, are contributing to the effort to limit the damage to Bradda.

The suggestion of purchase of a seed harvester has arisen as part of the response to dealing with Bradda. However, it is recognised that it would also be useful for other ecological initiatives involving native wild flowers throughout the Island.

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