SALBRI SITE OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST
CCW MANAGEMENT STATEMENT
What is ‘special’ about Salbri SSSI?
Salbri has one special feature:
Acidic bog with a floating mat of several species of bog moss (including Sphagnum papillosum, and S. platyphyllum) and two uncommon sedges, white sedge and mud sedge.
As well as the feature listed above, Salbri has other habitats that contribute to the special interest. These include peripheral areas of scrub, wet grassland and mud. This mixture of habitats is important for other wildlife including three-lobed water-crowfoot, amphibians including great crested newt, and formerly (and potentially) the marsh fritillary butterfly and these too are key components of the special interest of the site. Unless specified below, management of this site should aim to look after these habitats as well as the listed features of interest.
Salbri SSSI should be a compact acidic bog with peat exceeding 2m depth. There should be a floating surface-mat of bog moss, including Sphagnum papillosum and S. platyphyllum, exhibiting a rippling 'schwingmoor' effect when walked on. Marsh cinquefoil and bog bean should be abundant. Over parts of the site heather, cross-leaved heath, creeping willow and cotton grass should occur. White sedge and mud sedge should be abundant. Greater reedmace should be restricted to one corner of the site. Three-lobed water crowfoot should occupy areas of poached mud on the edge of the bog.
What management is needed on Salbri SSSI and why?
Although Salbri is an excellent place for wildlife it will only remain so if the necessary management continues. CCW’s aim is to work with you to ensure that this management is carried out.
What does this mean in practice?
There are many factors that could damage the special features at Salbri if they are not properly managed. These are the ones we regard as most important:
A high water table is essential for the survival of wetland plants and animals. It is therefore important that no work is carried out which would lower or change in any other way water levels on the site – for example by widening or deepening ditches. However, raised water levels could drown sensitive species, especially if this enabled mineral rich groundwater to reach areas of the rain-fed acid bog surface. Therefore raising water levels should not be undertaken without careful assessment. Equally important is the need to maintain the water supply to the site through springs, groundwater seepage, ditches and surface run off. Any actions that would reduce the amount of water entering Salbri would be damaging to the site.
Good water quality is essential for maintenance of the characteristic assemblage of wetland plants and animals at Salbri. The acid areas at the center of the bog are largely rain-fed, floating above the chemical influence of groundwater. Plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous encourage the spread of competitive plants such as float-grass and reedmace which can out-compete the less common (and more desirable) species of Salbri. Additions of nutrients within the catchment such as fertiliser applications or supplementary stock feeding are likely pollute the water supply to the bog and to damage the important features of the site
Bog-mosses are very susceptible to fire damage. Although fire may be used to control peripheral gorse scrub on a rotational basis, care should be taken to ensure that it does not burn the bog.
Scrub has a role in provision of bird nest sites and shelter for invertebrates, but too much can alter the nature of the site. Should the grazing be inadequate to limit scrub growth, active scrub control may be necessary.
Light grazing removes excess plant material and controls scrub. The most appropriate grazers are cattle or ponies, which also produce the light poaching of the ground essential for the three-lobed water crowfoot. Animal dung provides an important food resource for some invertebrates. There should be no supplementary feeding with silage as this raises nutrient levels.
Our knowledge of wildlife is far from complete. It is possible that new features of value may appear and new management issues may arise in the future, whilst other issues may disappear. This statement is written with the best information we have now, but may have to change in the future as our understanding improves. Any information you can provide on the wildlife of your site, its management and its conservation would be much appreciated.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your SSSI, or have any concerns about your SSSI, please contact your local CCW office.
Your local office is;
Cyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru/Countryside Council for Wales
Llys y Bont,
Ffordd y Parc,
Gwynedd, LL57 4BN,
Fax: 01248 679259