There is actually no such thing as a natural habitat! Not one square inch of our land in Dorset has not been influenced by human activity at some point and in some way. That said, some of the habitat we see today has existed for hundreds (or even thousands) of years and has developed a flora and fauna of its own. There are several iron age forts in Dorset, for example, that have been largely unchanged for over 2,000 years. Human activity is one factor that determines the habitats we see today but the underlying geology of an area will also affect what we see. Natural vegetation that has generated on chalk (a calcareous soil) will, in general, be different to that occurring on our heaths (acid soils). Geology, time and human intervention have formed the Dorset of today and the often unique animals and plants that can be found here and it is human management over more time that is key to keeping it that way. Management is essential to prevent our established habitat reverting to a covering of woodland as it once was and is also necessary to correct mistakes made in the past in habitat management and in inappropriate species that might have been introduced.