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As well as being site native trees, a research note by the Forestry Commission also suggests oak, wild cherry and the less widespread hornbeam may be better suited to the future climate in the South East with hotter drier summers being predicted for the future.
Jay Doyle, South East England Ecologist said:
“This rejuvenation of native woodland on the public forest estate will not only safeguard the future of these woodlands but also continue to provide a thriving home for native wildlife. The cyclical felling of trees at Alice Holt Forest and other sites make the land ideal for ground nesting birds like woodlark and nightjar in the shorter term.
“Within a few years the replanted areas will become suitable for dormice, a flagship species of ancient and native woodland. In a century or so the maturing trees will offer a refuge for a variety of roosting woodland bats.”
In previous decades following the two world wars a proportion of Forestry Commission ancient woodlands were converted to conifer plantations to provide a strategic supply of timber. In 2005 a national policy document Keepers of Time stated that they should be gradually restored back to native trees, including, oak, ash, beech and birch where appropriate for each forest.
On some Forestry Commission sites natural regeneration of native trees is the preferred option. But where the previous tree cover has altered the woodland floor and soils to such an extent that regeneration is impeded, replanting with native broadleaf trees is necessary.
For further information on the habitat and wildlife conservation work being delivered by the Forestry Commission please contact the Forestry Commission at Alice Holt Forest on 01420 23666.
Notes to Editors
- The Forestry Commission manages over 250,000 hectares (600,000 acres) of woodlands in England. Most of this land is open for public access and the Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in the country. For further information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/southeastengland. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
- 2011 is the United Nations International Year of the Forests and the Forestry Commission is working at a landscape-scale in partnership with a variety of conservation organisations to champion the recovery of native habitats and wildlife.
- Keepers of time: A statement of policy for England's Ancient and Native Woodland updates the government’s policy towards woodlands and trees by re-emphasising their value, evaluating threats and opportunities and setting out a range of actions to improve their protection and quality.
- The Forestry Commission is a leading body in the efforts to conserve and enhance protected areas. In 2010, 99.5% of its nationally important wildlife sites were in favourable condition, exceeding the government target of 95% in target condition by 2010.
Jo Spouncer, PR contact, Forestry Commission South East England
T: 01483 326265 M: 07828 762045 E: firstname.lastname@example.org