A three-year contract to extend the Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) database of the county and record ecological/habitat information required by the Herefordshire Lifescapes project (funded by Herefordshire Council, English Nature and the LEADER+ scheme). The data gathered by Countryscape formed the basis of innovative 'macro maps' that show broad-scale opportunities for improving biodiversity as part of a sustainable, multi-functional landscape. This work involved a field survey of the entire county, together with developing a database linked to a Geographical Information System (GIS), which allowed survey information to be recorded directly in the field (helping to maximise efficiency and accuracy).
The study is currently being used to formulate an evaluation system aimed at quantifying the biodiversity potential of each Land Cover Parcel in the county. This system will enable a structured approach to co-ordinated targeting of agri-environmental projects and grant aid. The various organisations working in the county are progressively being involved in the process, and to date we have had only positive feedback from them with regard to the scope and content of the revised database. We expect it to remain a unique and valued dataset for the foreseeable future - Jane Patton, Landscape Officer, Herefordshire Council.