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Restoration of woodlands: mission possible

Have you ever seen a movie about the medieval ages in England? All those movies can be distinguished by two of the main locations where all action is happening. The first one is always a castle where some political arguing, love affair or another kind of drama occurs. The second one is dark and scary woodland full of various dangers, animals, magical creatures or soldiers, and all bloody battles are held here. Today, England is still full of magnificent and medieval castles that might be used for movies. However, the situation with woodlands is more than sad – woods are cut, animals are hunted, and all major woodlands will be just a nice memory soon. Can we do something to change this scenario? Yes! We all can restore the historical woodlands and enjoy the great power of nature again.

Significance of ancient woodlands

In the past, woodlands were a truly life source for humans. They took timber as the main construction material and heating fuel, they collected herbs for medicine, they hunted animals for meat and fur, took berries and mushrooms or used their native woodlands as a shelter to hide from enemies. It might be said that woodlands were an integral part of life. As woodlands are not just a forest but include all parklands, heathlands, field spaces, and any other territory, between or outside of an owner castle, the woodlands were the main location for battles, negotiations and hunting places for nobility and monarchs as well. As a result, all parts of ancient society were closely related to woodlands.

Significance of ancient woodlands
Significance of ancient woodlands

The major part of the woodlands has belonged to the monarchs or nobility and was called Royal Parks. These parts were protected by the special forest law against too much hunting and trees cutting. This law has been used in England for many years and later got an amendment to protect woodlands against fire too. The forest law was very strictly enforced by a hierarchy of forest owners. In England, it was illegal to do any activities for a personal need in a royal forest unless it was agreed with an owner. This law was annulled during the industrial age when the royal family and nobility lost their almighty power – this is how the black days for woodlands came.

Amount of damage and restoration

Since the beginning of the industrial age in the United Kingdom, more than half of all woodlands and ancient forests were destroyed for agricultural and industrial purposes. It is counted that only 3090 sq. kilometers of semi-natural ancient woodlands have survived until today and it is less than 20% of the whole wooded area that England was so proud of in the middle ages. The survived sites of semi-natural woodlands were reduced and according to statistics, the average territory of survived woodlands is less than 200,000 square meters.

The poor management of woodlands, tree disease, climate change, and intensive agriculture have affected the biodiversity of woodlands. As a result, many species of animals, trees, flowers, and berries are lost or going to be vanished soon. Therefore, the woodland restoration projects are so important and might be taken seriously by the government and society.