UK woodland biodiversity
The nature emergency in UK woodlands
Woodland birds have declined in the UK since 1970 (Figure 3a), mostly due to changes in woodland management. This is worrying for all woodland wildlife as woodland animals tend to be vulnerable to the same drivers of change. But there are straightforward things we can do to restore nature such as grants to bring back traditional coppicing and limit how much deadwood is taken away from woodlands.
Poorly planned afforestation can damage nature and climate. It is essential woodland expansion benefits both. It our responsibility to rectify damage afforestation has caused in the past. For example, tree removal is an important part of lowland heathland restoration and safeguarding peat carbon storage. Removing non-native trees from plantations on ancient woodland sites will improve the condition of some our most precious habitats.
Nature friendly forest and woodland management
Well managed woodlands and forests lock in carbon and can store it in the soil. Woodlands host 80% of land-based biodiversity worldwide. Policymakers can make a difference through statutory protection for ancient woodlands and improving regulations and incentives for land owners to ensure trees, woods and forests are managed as habitat for nature, carbon stores and to provide high quality timber.