Once you are equipped to start surveying habitats you will need to make your own map. You will need to incorporate the main habitat areas in your map which will show at a glance the habitats present. The map can be annotated by codes and colours. Remember to keep it simple.
So what codes/colours should I use?
Below are listed the standard codes and colours as used by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, for further information see: Handbook for Phase 1 Habitat Survey – A Technique for Environmental Audit (2007) or visit www.jncc.gov.uk/page-2468
You may decide to identify the types of habitat in more detail than shown above. For example, separating deciduous woodland from coniferous woodland is quite straightforward. Separating different types of grassland can be tricky, but with practice it is fairly easy to distinguish between improved grassland and semi-improved and unimproved grassland, which are important habitats for wildlife.
Create target notes
As well as marking your map with colours/codes, you can also indicate key items such as an ancient tree by including a target note.
Mark each target note with a number on your map and on a separate sheet of paper record what it is and the reason for including it as a target note. You can also include key species that you may spot during your survey such as an unusual plant or maybe a barn owl flying overhead.
End result – digitising or colouring in the main map
Once the survey is complete, a map showing the whole parish can then be marked up. The map will then show at a glance the key habitats in your local area.