Monday, 19 March 2007

Biodiversity Plan

Having lived with the wood for a few months now, with the advice we have received, and with daydreams, the plan is to increase the diversity of habitats within the wood (and hence promote biodiversity) as sketched out below. The original habitat is mainly uniformly aged chestnut coppice with oak standards, which changes to alder and hazel along the gill; there are also birch in the sunnier areas of the coppice. There is a central strip of brambles running north-south where trees have been cleared by a previous owner, and a small central clearing. While the oak is great for wildlife, chestnut supports only a few species compared to native tree species (e.g. see table below indicating number of insect species associated with various tree).

The plan is to evolve the middle of the wood as continuous cover forestry by managing and supplementing natural regeneration to favour indigenous tree species. The existing clearing was too small to be of significant benefit for wildlife; rule of thumb for clearings is to have the width at least 2x the height of the trees, as this allows plenty of sunlight in. To create this we will expand the width of the existing clearing and also extend it to the south boundary. The bramble area will be left as it is, with the brambles providing food and shelter for a variety of species; over time natural succession will age this area. The hazels in the gill will be coppiced, while the alders will generally be left to mature. The remainder of the wood will continue as chestnut coppice with oak standards, but rather than being coppiced in a single year, it will be done in smaller areas (approx 0.5 acre per year) to provide a wider range of ages and hence habitats.

Table of trees and associated insects (* indicates introduced species).
Adapted from

Habitat plan at purchase (November 2006)

Proposed habitat/management plan