Monkton Nature Reserve is an important mix of habitats and the preservation and enhancement of their diversity is the main purpose of the management planning and work carried out on the site, with special conservation measures for threatened species. Without proper management, the habitats will gradually be overtaken by a process of change called succession, whereby only a few species come to dominate the area.
However, the Reserve is essentially an artifical site, being a disused quarry, and human activity has modified the site so much that the species and communities within often need human intervention in order to survive. In addition, a few of the species noted in the Reserve are transitory, and it will not be possible or even even desirable to arrest the process of change in some areas.
The key part of our conservation work is the identification, referencing and cataloguing of the varied species of flora and fauna on the Reserve – a mammoth and never-ending task,
We regularly survey the Reserve and catalogue everything found in order to monitor its ‘assets’ and to identify the changes that occur over the years.
For much of this work we depend on the observation skills of our volunteers and the swift action of our Wardens. Isolation and protection of the associated habitat is essential to the continuing survival of the species, but not so far as it becomes unobservable or to the disadvantage of other flora and fauna nearby.
Many of the species within the Reserve are protected in one way or nother by various legislation. In particular, it is illegal to uproot and wild plant without permission from the landowner. A good knowledge of such regulations is required by our staff and volunteers to ensure certain regulations are not breached while trying to adhere to others.
Management of the Reserve is concentrated on British species typically found in chalk grassland and chalk woodland. Non-native and invasive species are gradually removed in a considerate way in order to allow the required habitats to evelve in to their desired state. This policy also benefits our neighbours by preventing the movement of such species on to their land. We have also planted a number of deciduous British trees and shrubs around the Reserve in order to reduce atmospheric pollution that affects the habitats within, as well as to reduce the light pollution that affects users of the Thanet Observatory.
To ensure that all relevant factors are considered in the running of the Reserve we have compiled a comprehensive Management Plan that provides us with step-by-step, habitat-by-habitat guidance on what is required for each species, to ensure the diversification of the site.