Campaign to restore ancient woodlands
A campaign to restore the ancient woodlands of the North York Moors National Park will see a return of the much-loved bluebell, primrose, wood anemone and wild daffodil.
The National Park Authority’s new Management Plan has identified the restoration of ancient woodlands planted with conifers as a key conservation priority.
These conservation sites are at risk of decline or loss.
Many of the areas of ancient woodland planted with conifers are coming up to a time when the trees are mature for harvesting as timber.
In addition, many sites have poor access and the resulting lack of management can be detrimental to their condition.
Ancient woodlands are areas that have been more or less continuously covered by trees for at least 400 years. Some may even have links back to the wild wood established after the last ice age
They often support a ground flora consisting of some of the best known and loved of our woodland flowers such as bluebell, primrose, wood anemone and wild daffodil.
Although woodland covers 22 per cent of the North York Moors National Park, only 4 per cent is classed as ancient and of this only half still consists of native trees and shrubs.
The other half are classed as ancient woodland sites but have been replanted mainly with conifer trees.
Whilst the impact of this can vary depending on the species planted and the management techniques used, this change has had a very detrimental impact on the wildlife and landscape value of the wood in many cases.
Most conifer trees cast a much denser shade than native species and thereby suppress plants and shrubs growing at a lower level.
Their needles can also acidify soil in the long term which will change the type of plant that the area can support.
There is also concern that the longer that an ancient woodland site is covered by conifer trees the less likely it is to regain some of its original wildlife and landscape value.
However, the National Park’s Director of Conservation, Peter Barfoot, said: “The Management Plan makes it clear that the policy is not anti-conifer. The importance of conifer woodland for timber production and recreation is well recognised. Nor is the objective necessarily to return all ancient woodland planted with conifers to purely native woodland.
“In many cases improvements can be achieved through management of existing trees and the development of suitable mixes of species, even including some conifers.
“The National Park Authority is keen to work with woodland owners and their managers to achieve improvements or restoration where possible.
“The Authority is able to provide advice and help for managers and owners to obtain Forestry Commission grant for the necessary work. Grants are also available direct from the Park Authority in some circumstances.”
Mr Barfoot also emphasised that there was no compulsion on owners to restore ancient woodlands, but the Authority would like to talk to owners and look at the options available.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Malton
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North