Respecting our elders
Launched in partnership with the Ancient Tree Forum, the guide presents a clear case for the protection and conservation of ancient trees, which exist in far greater number in the UK than in many other European countries. Ancient trees help to maintain biodiversity because, as they decay, new habitats are created and occupied by a wide range of species. Even after the tree has died, the deadwood can continue providing wildlife habitats for decades.
The quality of the habitats in ancient trees depends in large part on the location in which they are planted. Large open areas such as parkland or wood pasture are particularly conducive to biodiversity, while factors such as damage from land management techniques may inhibit it.
“Old and ancient trees are very vulnerable,” commented Jill Butler, conservation policy adviser for ancient trees at the Woodland Trust. “So it is vital that we make sure their habitat is recognised and valued, and that they are actively replaced by the successive establishment of new trees.”
To support this regenerative process, the Woodland Trust has created an Ancient Tree Hunt website, which provides a living database of ancient, veteran and notable trees in the UK. Site visitors can add trees to the map at any time – an important step towards maintaining the biodiversity associated with ancient trees.
To download a copy of any of the Woodland Trust’s seven ancient tree guides, click here.