International Dormouse Conference

06 Nov 2017

Junior Ecological Consultant Hamish Jackson has recently represented Place Services at the 10th International Dormouse Conference which took place over five days in Belgium, Liege. The conference focused on research and conservation methods for five different European dormouse species, but also included updates from other countries on further dormouse species. Hamish was a part of a small contingent of UK dormouse researchers who attended the conference. While there, he gave a poster presentation on his research on hazel dormice nesting behaviour relating to vegetation composition and structure.

The conference provided opportunities for Hamish to network with international dormouse experts, in particular about hazel dormice. This gave him the opportunity to learn about research and conservation strategies that are underway on the species, at home and abroad.

One exciting British study was the surveying of dormice by the use of footprint tunnels. After a long term research project, dormouse footprint tunnels are now recognised as a more successful approach for detecting dormouse presence then nest tubes and nest boxes. This study hopes to provide an alternative survey method to examine dormouse presence for planning applications. Another exciting study in Britain is the use of dormouse bridges, which is being researched by the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species. Dormouse bridges are used to attempt to mitigate the fragmentation of the species’ populations by roads. After trials of different bridges, a successful prototype has been designed. The project aims to continue trials to guarantee that options can be provided to negate the fragmentation of dormouse habitat by roads.

Hamish hopes to use his up to date knowledge on hazel dormice to provide expert advice to Local Planning Authorities, to ensure best practice is being followed on applications that warrant dormice mitigation.  This knowledge can also be used to survey potential development sites for the presence of dormice, and to develop strategic approaches to the conservation of this species in the landscape.