Terrestrial Invertebrate Survey reports and mitigation plans are required for development projects that could affect protected species, as part of obtaining planning permission or a mitigation licence. Surveys need to show whether protected species are present in the area or nearby, and how they use the site. Mitigation plans show how you'll avoid, reduce or manage any negative effects to protected species.

EMEC invertebrate ecologists offer a broad range of services to meet your needs, examples of which are:

  • Single site, single visit surveys to determine whether a site has the potential to support invertebrate populations of significance.
  • Single site, multiple visit surveys to determine the species composition of a given site. Recent survey work has involved regular surveying of a brownfield site prior to redevelopment, with recommendations made for sympathetic redevelopment to mitigate loss of favourable invertebrate habitat.
  • Common Standards Monitoring (CSM) for designated sites including Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). Recent work for Natural England has included the assessment of ancient woodlands for their assemblages of saproxylic fauna, a season's fieldwork on an acid mire in the north of England to help formulate an action plan for its maintenance and enhancement as an area for invertebrates, and several smaller studies on the prevalence of invertebrate scrub edge communities throughout the United Kingdom.
  • Individual species identification of key taxonomic groups.
  • Invertebrate surveys for Wildlife Trusts to measure impacts of land management on the invertebrate fauna of sites, and to provide useful and realistic management recommendations for the future.


The optimal period for terrestrial invertebrate surveys is May to mid-September. Surveys can be carried out in April and late September to early October, but the adults of many species will not be present at this time so additional surveys within the optimal period are generally required to provide a complete picture of the invertebrate species present.


EMEC invertebrate ecologists carry out all their survey work to best practice following methods developed and recommended by Natural England.

Methods for surveying and sampling terrestrial invertebrates include:

  • Direct observation. Active and visible species such as butterflies, dragonflies and bumblebees may be observed and identified in the field during a walk-over of the site.
  • Suction sampling where ground material including invertebrates are 'hoovered' into a collecting bag for later identification.
  • Hand searching. A search of important invertebrate habitats, including dead wood, bare ground, beneath stones and discarded objects, and common invertebrate host-plants.
  • Sweep-netting of flying insects and herbaceous vegetation.
  • Beating of woody vegetation. Dislodged invertebrates are caught on a large fabric tray and quickly collected.
  • Trapping. A variety of traps can be used, including pitfall, malaise, flight intercept, sticky and light traps. Bait traps can be used for butterflies and other insects attracted to fruits and sugar.
  • Sieving of leaf litter.
  • Extraction of insects from leaf litter using Kempson extractors or water funnels.

Any samples collected during the survey will be preserved and then identified in the laboratory.

Following the Survey

Following the invertebrate survey results, specific advice suitable for the proposed works and the species found can be provided. This may include advice on suitable planting schemes in order to encourage specific species, or specific management regimes and timings of the work to promote diversity.


Saproxylic Invertebrate Fauna of Bredon Hill, Worcestershire

EMEC Ecology was commissioned by Natural England to conduct an intensive season long survey on the Saproxylic Invertebrate Fauna of Bredon Hill, Worcestershire.

Invertebrate Assemblage of Northumberland's Lampert Mosses Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

EMEC Ecology was commissioned by Natural England to conduct an intensive whole summer survey on the invertebrate survey of the notified Invertebrate Assemblage of Northumberland's Lampert Mosses Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The primary objective of the study was to identify the assemblage of invertebrates intricately associated with sphagnum bog habitats typically found in upland areas of northern England.