Regeneration of storm-damaged conifer woods following the Great Storm of October 1987

Wind damage and restoration of PAWS

The most recent studies have been carried-out to investigate whether the woodlands that have developed following the damage and clearance of planted conifer woodlands can help to improve guidance on the restoration of plantations on ancient woodland sites which are commonly known as PAWS.  The current advice recommends that woodland cover should be maintained and conifers removed gradually from PAWS.

This contrasts dramatically with the processes caused by the storm. Conifer tree cover was destroyed overnight in a single catastrophic event with further disturbance to the sites caused by the clearance of fallen trees and debris.

New broadleaved woodlands on wind damaged PAWS

Surveys were made in 2006 of broadleaved woodlands that had regenerated naturally to replace storm damaged conifer plantations. The trees, shrubs and groundflora vegetation were observed to see if the plants present were typical of the native woodlands that would naturally occur on the sites.

Brief descriptions of some of the sites visited are given below (select from list or click on sites marked on map).

Map showing selected affected conifer woods damaged by Great Storm of 1987

The sites were dominated by birch but the overall range of species present was typical of the broadleaved woodlands the could occur. For me details see:

Harmer, R. and Morgan, G. (2009). Storm damage and the conversion of conifer plantations to native broadleaved woodland. Forest Ecology and Management, 258, 879-886.

Clowes Wood Dene Park Birchden Hemsted Orlestone Mopesden Darwell Barnes Wood Ashes Wood Battle Great Wood Abbots Wood