This project will assess the biodiversity value of translocated soils in Forest Wood quarry, Pontyclun, South Wales. We will focus on three biodiversity elements: micro-organisms, plants and butterflies. In 2012, patches of ancient woodland were cleared in the quarry and these soils translocated to three other areas within the quarry. There also remains patches of standing ancient woodland. We will collect soil samples from undisturbed ancient woodland soils and disturbed, translocated woodland soils in the quarry and conduct lab-based analysis of the micro-organism communities of these soils. Using standardised field methods, we will survey the botanical, specifically woodland ground flora, and butterfly communities (as biodiversity indicators) of the two soil areas in the quarry. We will then compare and contrast these three biotic elements in/on undisturbed and disturbed soils to ascertain the biodiversity value of translocated soils and whether they can act as suitable substrates for natural habitat regeneration, adding biodiversity value to the quarry landscape. Findings of this project are transferable to other quarries within HeidelbergCement's portfolio.

DNA Extraction

All soil samples have been collected and it is now time to extract the DNA to find out exactly what microorganisms live in the soil.

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17Jul

QLA Judges on-site!

Meeting the QLA judges.

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15Jun

Lab work

The first soil samples are tested in the lab

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15Jun

Yellow-wort discovery

Record of Yellow-wort (Blackstonia perfoliata) on-site.

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12Jun

Orchid hunting

Richard showing me some of the orchids currently in flower.

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12Jun

A morning on site in the South Wales sun

Site visit and sample collection with Jo and Richard.

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12Jun

Buzzing about the bee orchids

Four beautiful orchid species were flowering in the quarry today.

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11Jun

Floral treasures at Forest Wood Quarry

Ancient woodland indicator species in the remnant woodland at Forest Wood Quarry

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09Jun

Butterfly transect route

Richard, our MSc student focusing on the botany and butterflies of Forest Wood, has drawn up our butterfly transect route.

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26Apr

Project site map

Jo, our MSc student focusing on soil microbes, has drawn up the base map for our fieldwork.

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26Apr

Our MSc Project Students

Recruitment of our two Forest Wood Quarry project students. Both are MSc students studying at The University of South Wales.

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26Apr