Atlantic Oakwoods Symposium

14th to 16th September 2005

What was the event?

The Atlantic Oakwoods are ancient woodlands, often dominated by oak species, that fringe the west coast of Britain and Ireland. As distinctive ecosystems, they have shown great resilience surviving from the original post-glacial migrations, through millennia of use and abuse, to the present day. Having lost their economic viability through the decline in traditional markets at the end of the 19th Century, management of these woodlands was largely abandoned. They became sheltered grazing for wintering stock or were converted to coniferous plantations.

In recent years there has been increasing interest in these woods as their conservation value was realised. Attempts have been made to initiate natural regeneration and restore damaged woods by the removal of excessive browsing or introduced tree species. There have been recent investigations of the origin and genetic structure of the tree populations and studies of the historical development of the woods. There is a need therefore to register the existing state of the woods and their overall biodiversity in the contexts of their past treatment and future management.

The aim of this symposium was to provide a forum in which current knowledge could be collated, with a view to identifying the need for further research and the role of these woods in conservation planning.

At this symposium Forest Research gave the following presentations:

  • Jonathan Humphrey: "Habitat Action Plans and Ecological Networks"
  • Richard Thompson: "Restoring planted ancient woodland sites - assessment, silviculture and monitoring"
  • Max Hislop: "Encouraging communities to become involved in managing woodland: some general principles"

Where did the event take place?

Corran Halls
Oban PA34 5AB


Shiela Wilson
Institute of Geography
University of Edinburgh
Drummond Street
Edinburgh EH8 9XP