Restoration of woodlands: mission possible II
In order to preserve and restore ancient woodland, it is very important to understand what it is. Don’t let yourself to be confused because not every park or forest can be called a woodland. According to the terminology, ancient woodlands are areas of forests that have persisted since 1600 in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales, and 1750 in Scotland. All woods in that age have been planted and grown-up naturally without any interaction of activities performed by human beings.
The ancient woodlands have been a natural environment for many different, rare and local species of animals, birds, plants, and trees that might be lost because of biological changes of the sites. As a result, the English woodlands are irreplaceable resources for the unique English species that cannot naturally live in any other environment. Because of all these reasons, the ancient woodlands are also called Old-growth forests.
It won’t be too much to say that all ancient woodlands are one of the most valuable natural resources of the United Kingdom. These sites have evolved over centuries into the rich and important land habitats. However, ancient woodland covers from2.4% up to 3% of the whole territory of the United Kingdom and this number is still getting smaller every year.
Types of ancient woodlands
The ancient woodland has the typical soil, woods, wildlife, and biological cycle, as a result, the survived woodlands can be classified into two categories.
• Semi-natural woodlands also called ASNW is composed of native tree species that have not obviously been planted. Trees have been planted and developed naturally. The features of ancient woodland often survive in many of these woods including specific wildlife, local species and remains of archaeological structures that can prove very specific activities and habits of local people. Most of the trees have been used by humans for timber and fuel over the centuries.
• Planted ancient woodland or also called PAWS is an ancient woodland site where the native species have been partially or wholly replaced or replanted with a non-locally native species of trees, plants, and animals. Typically, these are conifers, but it can also include broadleaved plantings such as non-native beech, red oak, and sweet chestnut. Usually, the soil is mixed here because of non-locally species and the natural local environment is destroyed for a purpose.
Since the ancient woodlands became a priority to the government and landowners, some restored PAWS sites have been restored very precisely and now these places are practically indistinguishable from ASNW. However, there is no way to reclassify the restored PAWS into the original ASNW, as a result, the new acronym of RPAWS was invented and became very popular now.
Initiatives of restoration
In a simple word, there are no other ways to restore an ancient woodland to plant new trees and provide new animal species that have been grown up in a zoo. Establishing new trees and woodland cannot be called a direct replacement and won’t give all lost or damaged species back. However, these efforts are better than doing anything and they are acceptable, as long as, they don’t affect another semi-natural species, a natural heritage or the environment in general.