Regeneration of broadleaved woodlands following the Great Storm of October 1987

1998 survey

An early survey carried-out at 45 sites in 15 locations during summer 1988 found that the number of tree seedlings present varied with site and species: all sites with ash seedlings present were adequately stocked but only a quarter of sites had large numbers of beech and oak seedlings. The results of the survey implied that natural regeneration would be successful at these sites.

2002 survey

A follow-up survey was made in 2002 to see how the woodlands had developed.

Most of the sites revisited had regenerated successfully although the species present had changed. Ash remained abundant at sites where it was the dominant species in 1988, but birch had usually become dominant on sites where oak and beech had originally been abundant.  This suggests that whilst natural regeneration can successfully recreate a woodland the species that arise may not always be those initially present.

For more details see:

Harmer, R., Tucker, N. and Nickerson, R. (2004). Natural regeneration in storm damaged woods – 1987 storm sites revisited (PDF-221K). Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 98, 183-190.