CIEEM Conference 2018

Dr Phil Putwain gave a presentation at the CIEEM Autumn Conference ‘Advances in Ecological Restoration and Habitat Creation’, Glasgow, 20-21 November 2018. The title of the talk was

 ‘Sustainable habitat creation utilising soil profile inversion: evidence from case studies’.   Taking an ‘upside down approach for habitat creation’ is a novel approach for habitat creation.

A significant problem for attempts to create or re-create species-rich grassland and lowland heathland is high soil fertility. The key constraint for sustainable habitat creation is often an excessively high concentration of mineral phosphate. The importation of low fertility mineral materials or stripping and removing topsoil are historical techniques that were used to create suitable soil chemistry for habitat creation.
An alternative approach is to use soil profile inversion. This involves using a forestry mouldboard plough that inverts up to 1 metre of soil, bringing up infertile subsoil.  Two case studies are described and assessed which involved;
  • Creation of lowland heathland on farmland in Shropshire, safeguarding the last population of the silver-studded blue butterfly in the English Midlands.
  • Creation of plant and insect species-rich meadow grassland at Ness Botanic Gardens in Cheshire.
The Powerpoint presentation given by Phil Putwain can be viewed as a pdf. Please click    HERE



Ness Gardens Meadow - Autumn Update

The story of the butterfly and bee meadow at Ness Botanic Gardens was published in the Newsletter of the Cheshire and Wirral Branch of the Butterfly Conservation (Cheshire and Wirral Argus, Issue 99, Autumn 2018). 

Over a period of 10 years a species-rich meadow was created on an area of relatively fertile grassland which was ploughed to of a depth up to one metre bringing infertile subsoil to the surface.

To view a copy of the  PDF article in the Cheshire and Wirral Argus  click here.


Bonanza of Butterflies

Bonanza of butterflies in Ness Gardens meadow

The hot sunny weather during May, June and July apparently has boosted the abundance of many butterfly species monitored regularly by the wildlife volunteers, at Ness over a period of ten years.

The species-rich meadow was created eleven years ago following the habitat creation plan provided by Dr Phil Putwain. It is now a vibrant assemblage of meadow plants (see ERS May Blog post featuring cowslips), bees, butterflies and numerous other insects.

This summer there were record numbers of Common Blue butterflies (46 in 30 minute count) and also Small and Large whites. Possibly the very hot May and June enhanced survival of larvae for the second summer emergence of Common Blue adults. The grassland species Small Skipper and Small Copper were much more abundant than in previous years whilst Meadow Brown was abundant but substantially less than in 2013 and 2014. 

Other pleasing sightings were Painted Lady, Ringlet and Brimstone. In contrast species in Tribe Nymphalini (Peacock, Red Admiral and Small Tortoishell) have been much less abundant so far this year. The species richness of native perennials is an important element in habitat provision for butterflies.

CIEEM Conference 2018

Dr Phil Putwain gave a presentation at the CIEEM Autumn Conference ‘Advances in Ecological Restoration and Habitat Creation’, Glasgow, 2...