Biosffer Dyfi Biosphere Reserve
The core zone of the Biosffer Dyfi Biosphere Reserve is centred around the Dyfi National Nature Reserve (NNR). The biosphere reserve is the second of UNESCO’s ‘new style’ biosphere reserve in the UK that complies with the framework set out in the Seville Strategy. The biosphere reserve covers a range of habitats from coastal dune systems, to estuary area and bog marshes of Cors Fochno.
What goes on there?
Pastoral farming and forestry takes place in the biosphere reserve along with a wide range of tourism and outdoor recreation activities. Beach-related and watercraft-based activities are very active in the summer. The heavy recreational use of the Ynyslas dunes has led to an intensive and long-standing visitor management scheme incorporating interpretive displays and programmes, a visitor centre, wardening, boardwalks and vehicle controls.
The area is also active in sustainable living and technology development, natural resource re-habilitation, management and monitoring, environmental education, and interpretation and cultural development.
There is a long history of research and monitoring in the area, including vegetation and hydrological analysis, ornithological and tourism impacts research, and invertebrate monitoring. The national nature reserve is visited by about 8,000 students every year.
What makes it unique?
The estuarine raised mire of Cors Fochno Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is one of the largest and best preserved active raised bogs in UK. It is a key site for climate-related research and supports important assemblages of lower plants, invertebrates and birds. The estuary forms one of the most important wildfowl and shorebird centres in Wales and also comprises a Ramsar site.
There is also a rich variety of fungi, some of which are only known in Britain at this site. Likewise there are a number of rare insects and spiders, including one nocturnal hunting spider Agroeca dentigera which is unknown elsewhere in Britain.
Where is it?
Biosffer Dyfi Biosphere consists of the Dyfi Valley and the University town of Aberystwyth, on the central Welsh coast.
Location: the Dyfi Valley and the University town of Aberystwyth, on the central Welsh coast.
Ecosystems: Salt marshes and estuarine systems, temperate broadleaf forests or woodlands including marshlands.
Terrain and habitats: Dyfi has a variety of terrain that is predominantly hill land but also has river banks, creeks, mudflats and sandbanks in the estuary, dune systems at Ynyslas and peatland at Cors Fochno.
Vegetation: Broadleaf woodlands are typical of the valley slopes although conifer plantations now dominate large areas. There is also a rich variety of fungi, some of which are only known in Britain at this site. Acid grassland, blanket bog and dwarf shrub heath occur on areas of upland moorland. The bog marshes Cors Fochno is home to some sixteen species of sphagnum bog mosses including three which are nationally scarce. The dune slacks are well known for their rich orchid population, which include various marsh orchids and marsh helleborine. The dunes also contain important mosses and liverworts including rate petalwort.
Size : Total: 81883ha
Wildlife: Large numbers of waders and wildfowl use the estuary to winter, including important numbers of wigeon. The estuary also supports the only regular wintering population of Greenland white-fronted geese in Wales and England. Hen harrier, peregrine falcon and merlin hunt over the open bog in winter.
The dunes support a number of rare insects and spiders, including one nocturnal hunting spider Agroeca dentigera which is unknown elsewhere in Britain.Skylark, linnet, stonechat and shelduck breed in the dunes whilst ringed plovers nest on pebbly parts of the beach.
The Cors Forchno has many special invertebrate including rarities such as the rosy marsh moth, the large heath butterfly, bog bush cricket, small red damselfly, and the jumping spider Heliophanus dampfi. Breeding birds of the bog habitats include, teal, redshank, common snipe, water rail, cuckoo, skylark, stonechat, grasshopper warbler, sedge warbler, reed warble and reed bunting. Other residents include mammals such as otter and harvest mouse and reptiles such as adder, grass snake, common lizard and slow-worm.
Designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1976, extended in 2009
National Nature Reserve (NNR)
Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Special Protected Area (SPA)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
For more information visit the Biosffer Dyfi Biosphere website