Heathland Social Enterprise
Helping protect biodiversity and keep our local community warm
The Heathland Social Enterprise aims to support the management of heathland, common land and farms to protect and increase ecological value while utilising bracken and gorse as a resource to produce solid fuel briquettes.
WHAT PROBLEM ARE WE TRYING TO ADDRESS ?
Bracken can benefit wildlife, particularly where it is found as part of a habitat mosaic. It is associated with a number of National Vegetation Classification (NVC) communities and notable species, including some that are rare or scarce.
Although bracken can be valuable to some wildlife, its spread is a risk to other important habitats. Therefore, bracken is commonly managed as an invasive species. This is because its rhizomes and foliage give it a competitive advantage over other plants and it emits chemicals into the soil which prevent other plants from colonising.
Bracken can out-compete desirable plants and invade bare soil, becoming increasingly difficult to eradicate. Additionally, these changes have a long term effect on soil and water quality in addition to reducing the diversity of habitats.
Heathland supports a wide range of species, but needs to be grazed to maintain its high biodiversity value. Where grazing is no longer happening, cutting and removing vegetation can be beneficial.
HOW ARE WE PROPOSING TO ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM?
We are looking to harvest bracken, gorse and other heathland vegetation in ways that will protect and increase biodiversity. The harvested vegetation will be baled, shredded, dried and then pressed using existing manufacturing methods to produce solid fuel briquettes. These will be sold locally, creating an income for the project and CARE to invest back into the community.
HOW WILL YOUR COMMUNITY BENERFIT
FROM THIS PROJECT?
We are trying to address the need for an affordable, sustainable, locally sourced and produced fuel source for heating homes (creating local employment and opportunities at the same time).
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
We are looking for suitable sites to manage and harvest bracken from
We are looking for the following equipment to hire or buy: straw shredder, grain drier, briquette press
We are looking for contractors to work with us to harvest bracken and other heathland vegetation
Volunteer - see our opportunities here.
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This bracken was harvested off field margins on a smallholding near Pentre Galar. The bracken will be used to test our ideas over the coming months, adapting various recipes to use heathland plants which are abundant and in need of management to improve biodiversity in the area.