on the project site prior to clearance consisted largely of rhododendron together with
poorly developed silver birch. A few other tree species were found in low densities. In
areas covered by rhododendron, the woodland floor was essentially bare of vegetation as a
result of the extremely low light conditions prevailing. Light penetration in most areas
was substantially less than 10% of full daylight.
Removal of the rhododendron does result in an increase in biodiversity. The number of
species in the area cleared of rhododendron two years previously in the pilot project, was
nearly double that in areas still covered in rhododendron. Mosses are particularly notable
in the early regeneration phase. However, the recolonisation and recovery process is
likely to take a long time. Even though many more species were present in the cleared
area, the woodland floor was still bare to a large extent and plant species were very
The survey has shown quite marked differences in vegetation cover in
different sections of the project site, despite an outwardly homogeneous appearance. The
identification of these differences and their location, should later aid in understanding
the patterns of regeneration across the site after removal of the rhododendron.
Thanks are due to the Devon Recorder for Bryophytes, Mark Pool who assisted in the
identification of the mosses.