Call to pro­tect our an­cient wood­land

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

THE WOOD­LAND Trust is re­new­ing its calls for more to be done to pro­tect an­cient wood­land in Bucks which is un­der threat from HS2.

The char­ity says that across the UK, there are 575 an­cient woods which are dan­ger from de­vel­op­ment, with 23 in Bucks alone.

The trust is look­ing for new ‘Threat Re­porters’ to sign up and iden­tify cases of an­cient woods un­der threat, and has also launched a new guide to help com­mu­ni­ties and landown­ers iden­tify ar­eas which could be re­stored.

About 50 per cent of the trust’s cur­rent cases in­volve an­cient woods which were once cov­ered in na­tive broadleaf trees be­fore be­ing felled and re­planted with conifers or non-na­tive species dur­ing the last cen­tury.

Al­though th­ese sites are of­ten as­sumed to be dam­aged be­yond re­pair, re­search sug­gests that they oten re­tain fea­tures which would al­low them to be re­stored.

Oliver Ne­wham from the Wood­land Trust said: “Changes to the plan­ning sys­tem in 2012 were sup­posed to help pre­vent an­cient wood­land from coming un­der threat, yet our caseload is as high as ever.

“We are see­ing more pos­i­tive ac­tion taken by landown­ers look­ing to man­age and re­store ar­eas of an­cient wood­land un­der threat from over­shad­ing by non-na­tive species.

“The first step in this process is recog­nis­ing some of the tell-tale fea­tures that may re­main in th­ese woods and we hope our guid­ance will help peo­ple learn more about this ir­re­place­able habi­tat.”

The char­ity is three years into a five year £2.9m Her­itage Lot­tery Fund project to sup­port the restora­tion of up to 52,000 hectares of an­cient wood­land in 10 project ar­eas. So far more than 5,600 hectares have been com­mit­ted to restora­tion.

See www.wood­landtrust. org.uk/restora­tion for more in­for­ma­tion.

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