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The Forestry Commission has pledged £90,000 to give endangered woodland birds a lift in Sheffield.
The grant - the largest awarded under a pioneering scheme with the RSPB to boost 15 threatened species in South Yorkshire - will support Sheffield Wildlife Trust's ambitious bid to revive the169 hectare (422 acre) Greno Wood.
Forest chiefs have allocated a further £60,000 to improve public access in the beauty-spot, which is renowned for its biodiversity and archaeological interest.
Chris Grice, Forestry Commission Woodland Officer, said:
"The wood is the haunt of lesser spotted woodpecker, wood warbler, spotted flycatcher, redpoll and garden warbler, all target species for our joint grant scheme with the RSPB. Management work including thinning dense forestry, coppicing, cutting back vegetation and improving heathland will help secure a brighter future for these wonderful creatures. Greno Wood is a key location for wildlife and we are keen to support Sheffield Wildlife Trust's vision to make it an even better place."
These measures will boost birds and other wildlife by providing a wider range of habitats. Woodlands bird numbers have dipped alarmingly. Estimates suggest that the UK's woodland bird population has fallen by 20 per cent in the last 25 years, whilst Lesser redpoll and Willow tit populations have crashed over 50 per cent since the late 1960s.
Chris Grice explained:
"One of the key reasons is under-management of our woods. Too many are over-grown, too even aged or are suffocated by invasive vegetation. What we need are more dynamic habitats."
The bulk of Greno Wood is leased to Sheffield Wildlife Trust, which is mounting a fundraising drive to buy most it outright. The push has so far netted £590,000, with just another £130,000 needed to secure the future of one of Yorkshire’s most important woodlands.
Roy Mosley, Head of Operations at Sheffield Wildlife Trust, said:
“Greno Woods is a fantastic site and has the potential to be even better. With this grant from the Forestry Commission along with all the support we’ve had from other funders and the local community we should be able to make the site even better for people and wildlife and secure it’s long-term future.”
Note to Editor
- The Forestry Commission's woodland bird initiative is based on mapping work carried out with the RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Natural England. Breeding "hotspots" were plotted throughout the country for vulnerable species. Generous grants are on offer to help landowners in these areas - including South Yorkshire and the Peak District - make their woods more bird-friendly. To find out more contact the Forestry Commission on 01904 382300 or go to www.forestry.gov.uk/yorkshireandthehumber
- Forestry Commission England runs the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) to protect, improve and expand our forests, as set out in the government's Natural Environment White Paper www.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/whitepaper/. EWGS is a part of the Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE). Further information about these schemes can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/rural/rdpe/index.htm
- Forestry Commission England 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. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/yorkshireandthehumber
- Media calls: Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE FORESTRY COMMISSION BY RICHARD DARN, COI, LEEDS