Rose, R.J.; Bullock, J.M.; Clarke, R.T.; Cordingley, J.E. ; Newton, A.C.

Individual heath area estimates for land cover types in Dorset: 1978-2005

This dataset is a census of the heathland and associated vegetation from Dorset, UK. The Dorset heathlands are situated in South West England, and are generally associated with free-draining and acidic soils overlying Tertiary sands and gravels. The heathlands comprise a mosaic of different vegetation types, characterised by dwarf shrub communities dominated by members of the Ericaceae (e.g. Calluna vulgaris, Erica spp.), together with areas of mire, grassland, scrub and woodland. Unless they are managed heathlands undergo succession to scrub and woodland. Therefore the majority of heathland sites are currently under some form of conservation management, which is implemented to reduce succession to scrub and woodland. Management interventions include cutting and burning of vegetation, and grazing by livestock. Individual heathland patches are also managed for ecosystem services, such as recreation and timber production, as well as biodiversity conservation.

Publication date: 2015-08-27

Get the data

This dataset is made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Format of the dataset : Comma-separated values (CSV)

You must cite: Rose, R.J.; Bullock, J.M.; Clarke, R.T.; Cordingley, J.E. ; Newton, A.C. (2015). Individual heath area estimates for land cover types in Dorset: 1978-2005. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.


© Natural Environment Research Council


Study area
Temporal extent
1978-01-01    to    2005-12-31

Supplemental information

Other useful information regarding this dataset:

Chapman, S.B., Clarke, R.T. & Webb, N.R. (1989). The survey and assessment of heathland in Dorset for conservation. Biol. Conserv., 47, 137-152.
Cordingley, J. E., Newton, A. C., Rose, R. J., Clarke, R. T., & Bullock, J. M. (2015). Habitat Fragmentation Intensifies Trade-Offs between Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Heathland Ecosystem in Southern England. PLOS ONE, 10(6), e0130004.
Rose, R. , Webb, N. , Clarke, R. & Traynor, C. (2000). Changes on the heathlands in Dorset, England, between 1987 and 1996. Biological Conservation, 93(1), 117-125.
Webb, N. R., & Haskins, L. E. (1980). An ecological survey of heathlands in the poole Basin, Dorset, England, in 1978. Biological Conservation, 17(4), 281-296.

Provenance & quality

In this survey the plot sample size of 4 ha (200 m x 200 m) is based on the National Ordnance Survey mapping grid. All those plots within the county boundary of Dorset that were known to contain some heathland vegetation (dry heath, humid heath, wet heath and mire) in 1978 were surveyed for the cover of all major vegetation types. These vegetation types were: dry heath; humid heath/wet heath; mire; brackish marsh; carr; scrub; hedges and boundaries; woodland; grassland; sand dunes; sand and clay; ditches, streams, rivers, pools, ponds; arable; urban; other land uses; bare ground. Within each plot, the cover of all vegetation types was estimated and recorded on a 3-point abundance scale (1 = 1-10 percent cover; 2 = 11-50 percent cover; 3 = greater than 50 percent cover). A total of 3110 plots were identified in 1978, and, following the initial survey, repeat surveys of all plots were done in 1987, 1996 and 2005. These data were converted into area estimates and the plots amalgamated into groups 'heaths' for this dataset.

Correspondence/contact details

Rob Rose
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg
United Kingdom


Rose, R.J.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Bullock, J.M.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Clarke, R.T.
Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Science
Cordingley, J.E.
Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Science
Newton, A.C.
Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Science

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic categories
census,  Dorset heathland,  Long-term,  UK vegetation
Habitats and Biotopes
Land Cover