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Wildlife Conservation Stories

We are the custodians of 900,000 hectares of land, two-thirds of the which lies within National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

As climate change becomes more complex and challenging we face losing some of our native species. We are leading moves to nurture and protect rare and endangered species such as the red squirrel, the dormouse and the pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly.

Our pioneering research and on-the-ground experience has proved we can successfully, and economically, transform brownfield sites such as old collieries and factories into usable greenspace. Below are just a few examples for of our ongoing work.

Red squirrels

Red squirrel in Scots pine wood . Location: Formby , Merseyside , England .The survival of the red squirrel may depend on the design and management of conifer forest, their preferred habitat.

We are working with partners in projects across Britain to assess ways of designing and managing forests to develop a long term strategy that deters greys and encourages reds...

Find out more about Red Squirrels  

Saving England's Butterflies, Moths and Their Habitats

Pearl bordered fritillary basking on the woodland floor in late Spring.During the 20th century there has been an increasingly rapid decline in woodland butterflies with many species disappearing from their former range.

The abundance of butterflies in woodlands has dropped by 43% over the last 16 years. The decline for generalist species was 45% and for woodland species 39%. Some, such as the Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Heath Fritillary are now endangered ...

Read more about saving England's Butterflies

The New Forest Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) Scheme 

Pearl bordered fritillary basking on the woodland floor in late Spring.The New Forest Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme is England’s largest environmental scheme and restores and enhances the internationally-important habitats of the New Forest.

The project aims to increase the New Forest’s resilience in the face of modern day pressures, such as population growth and increased visitor numbers. It is a rare opportunity to conserve fragile habitats and support commoners on such a large scale. So far, the scheme has ...

Learn more about the HLS scheme


Female osprey in flight and returning to nest. Chicks 6-7 weeks old Working in partnership with the RSPB and Scottish Raptor study groups, the Forestry Commission is providing hidden nest sites, either artificial eyries or natural nests.  

The return of ospreys to Bassenthwaite Lake in 2001 was the culmination of several years hard work behind the scenes to encourage them to breed. As sightings of birds on migration increased ...

Read more about the Osprey Projects

Managing woodlands for birds

CURLEW.Farm and woodland birds have been in steady decline since the 1960s. Some of these, such as the Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker, Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Tit, have declined more than 50%.

Wild birds are considered as a good indicator of the general state of the health of the wider environment, so what can we do to prevent further decline?

Read more about preventing the decline of birds

Tawny Owls in box scheme in Grizedale

Baby Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) in hands of Wildlife Ranger. Grizedale. NW England FDOver the last 15 years at Grizedale our Wildlife Ranger Iain Yoxall has been running a Tawny Owl nest box scheme throughout the forest.

He has 50 nest boxes in a variety of locations and monitors them every year for occupation, eggs, chicks and fledged chicks....

Discover the Tawny Owls in Grizedale forest

Reintroducing Red Kites into Grizedale Forest

Red Kites settling into their temporary homeRed Kites are a stunning bird of prey, similar in size to a buzzard, which were once widespread across the UK. In the past, Red Kites would have been found scavenging around every village and town in the country, before numbers dropped to such an extent that they became extinct in England and Scotland in the nineteenth century.

The North West of England was the most obvious region from which red kites were still absent in the UK and it was identifed by the National Red Kite Steering Group as the final release site for the England re-introduction project...

Learn about the Red Kite reintroduction project


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Last updated: 29th June 2018

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.