Project Reference A-2 : Planted Ancient Woodland Site Restoration

Ancient Woodland is the UK’s richest habitat for wildlife, the result of centuries of continuous woodland conditions and management. This continuity means that it has had time to develop complex ecological communities characterised by species of plants, fungi and insects that are rarely found in younger woods. Ancient woodlands are also historical treasure troves full of archaeological and cultural features that give a picture of past land use. Ancient woodland is a scarce and irreplaceable resource.
 
Plantations of ancient woodland sites (PAWS) are ancient woods that have been planted with non-native species, mostly during the 20th century with the intention of providing a strategic timber reserve. Non-native conifer plantations can have a particularly negative impact on the ecology of ancient woods, firstly through the process of establishing them and subsequently from the effects of the shade and leaf litter that they cast. However, research has shown that in most PAWS remnant historic and ecological features still survive in amongst the plantation crop. These remnants provide vital links back to original ancient woodland. By acting now, owners and managers can make a major contribution towards securing and maintaining some of the UK’s most valuable and threatened habitats. The Woodland Trust regards the restoration of PAWS as a top priority and aims to restore the woodland to a priority habitat type – oak/ash woodland, in doing so this will help achieve NI HAP targets

Using information from the Ancient Woodland Inventory, a project undertaken by the Woodland Trust to determine the extent of ancient woodland in Northern Ireland, the Woodland Trust estimates that there are over 45ha (110 acres) of PAWS, on approximately 20 sites, within the Faughan Valley LPS. Some of these sites are managed by Forest Service, and they are obliged to undertake restoration under EU regulations, but the majority of the sites are under private ownership.

The Woodland Trust will work in partnership with the private landowners to determine the condition of their PAWS sites and offer advice and guidance in the restoration of these areas of woodland. We will avail of Forest Services Woodland Environment Grant (WEG) to contribute towards the cost of restoration work, this will provide 50% of the cost of restoration work

Private land owners will be offered a grant to fence around PAWS and ancient woodland to protect it from livestock and try to restore the ground flora within these areas. A total of £10,000 will be made available to erect fencing, landowners will be asked to match this funding, contributing 50% of the cost.

The Woodland Trust will offer advice to private landowners about the protection of their woodland and how to manage it in a sustainable manner, e.g. shelter for livestock, firewood production, etc. 

Michael Toppings, PAWS Officer, recently made a short documentary film highlighting the work of the Faughan Valley Landscape Partnership to restore Planted Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) within the Faughan Valley. 
Michael explains the importance of protecting remnant ecological features and management practices available to restore a healthy woodland environment. Included is footage from a demonstration day in October 2012, showcasing the use of horse trawling as a sensitive management practice.  Below is a link to the video: -

http://vimeo.com/52657070

Ancient Woodland is the UK’s richest habitat for wildlife, the result of centuries of continuous woodland conditions and management. This continuity means that it has had time to develop complex ecological communities characterised by species of plants, fungi and insects that are rarely found in younger woods. Ancient woodlands are also historical treasure troves full of archaeological and cultural features that give a picture of past land use. Ancient woodland is a scarce and irreplaceable resource.
 
Plantations of ancient woodland sites (PAWS) are ancient woods that have been planted with non-native species, mostly during the 20th century with the intention of providing a strategic timber reserve. Non-native conifer plantations can have a particularly negative impact on the ecology of ancient woods, firstly through the process of establishing them and subsequently from the effects of the shade and leaf litter that they cast. However, research has shown that in most PAWS remnant historic and ecological features still survive in amongst the plantation crop. These remnants provide vital links back to original ancient woodland. By acting now, owners and managers can make a major contribution towards securing and maintaining some of the UK’s most valuable and threatened habitats. The Woodland Trust regards the restoration of PAWS as a top priority and aims to restore the woodland to a priority habitat type – oak/ash woodland, in doing so this will help achieve NI HAP targets

Using information from the Ancient Woodland Inventory, a project undertaken by the Woodland Trust to determine the extent of ancient woodland in Northern Ireland, the Woodland Trust estimates that there are over 45ha (110 acres) of PAWS, on approximately 20 sites, within the Faughan Valley LPS. Some of these sites are managed by Forest Service, and they are obliged to undertake restoration under EU regulations, but the majority of the sites are under private ownership.

The Woodland Trust will work in partnership with the private landowners to determine the condition of their PAWS sites and offer advice and guidance in the restoration of these areas of woodland. We will avail of Forest Services Woodland Environment Grant (WEG) to contribute towards the cost of restoration work, this will provide 50% of the cost of restoration work

Private land owners will be offered a grant to fence around PAWS and ancient woodland to protect it from livestock and try to restore the ground flora within these areas. A total of £10,000 will be made available to erect fencing, landowners will be asked to match this funding, contributing 50% of the cost.

The Woodland Trust will offer advice to private landowners about the protection of their woodland and how to manage it in a sustainable manner, e.g. shelter for livestock, firewood production, etc. 

Michael Toppings, PAWS Officer, recently made a short documentary film highlighting the work of the Faughan Valley Landscape Partnership to restore Planted Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) within the Faughan Valley. 
Michael explains the importance of protecting remnant ecological features and management practices available to restore a healthy woodland environment. Included is footage from a demonstration day in October 2012, showcasing the use of horse trawling as a sensitive management practice.  Below is a link to the video: -

http://vimeo.com/52657070