In Britain, woodland expansion has been encouraged through a number of financial incentives, which range from schemes that encourage almost any contribution to the potential woodland resource, to grant schemes that have set out to restore connectivity to remnant ancient woodland.
This study assessed the success of spatial targeting of new woodland planting on the Isle of Wight implemented through grant aid in the JIGSAW scheme (Joining and Increasing Grant Scheme for Ancient Woodland).
The re-development of broadleaf woodland was tested using eight indicators – six commonly used landscape structural metrics, and two indicators of functional networks. The spatial targeting did appear successful, when compared to an equivalent area of untargeted grant-aided woodland expansion.
The map shows the distribution of woodland in the north east of the Isle of Wight, and the locations of new planting applied for under each scheme:
- Green - broadleaf woodland
- Blue - woodland grant scheme (WGS) applications with no spatial targeting
- Red - JIGSAW planting aimed at joinin ancient woodland patches.
Simple landscape structure metrics (see graphs) showed that:
- Woodland Grant Scheme planting (WGS) increased the number of woodlands but decreased the mean size of woodlands.
- JIGSAW planting, which was targeted at decreasing fragmentation, meant that not only was the mean size of woodlands increased, but the total number of woodlands actually slightly decreased, indicating that established woodlands had been linked together.