PAWS (and not the sort found on the end of a dog’s leg) – ‘Growing the Future’

Conifers crowd light out of a semi-ancient woodland site

We want less of this...

Jess is a recent forestry graduate with a passion for PAWS!  And she is much better than me at explaining the magnificence and value of these woods in her new film, produced as part of the Woodland Trust manifesto campaign. 

Once upon a time in the wisdom of our forefathers, beautiful semi-natural ancient woodland was replanted with exotic conifer-type trees – often for firewood.  Disturbing the natural harmony of the UK’s woodlands, these conifers marginalised the native trees within the woods and crowded out light with their quick-growing ways, starving the plants that lived there of much needed nutrients. 

After a bit of head scratching and observation the penny dropped. Experts agreed that if our ancient woodlands and their rare plants continue the cycle begun by man – felling and replanting with non-native conifers – there is little hope that their fragile eco-systems will survive.  

Wentwood - how things should be

...and more of this

That is the story of where we get the term PAWS from (no, the P isn’t for pants on the outside either…) as it stands for Planted Ancient Woodland Sites.  Well, these woods may be damaged but they are not beyond repair.  Because every story needs a hero, this is where we introduce PAWS restoration. The best way to make the most of these remnants is to concentrate on the conservation of ancient woodland features rather than straight conversion to native woodland, planting native trees in and around these ancient woodland sites, gently removing the conifers and working hard to protect the remaining valuable veteran trees and specialist plants that still survive.  

We have already begun restoration work on 15,800 acres of semi-natural ancient woodland since 2002 – and there is still work to be done

Public forests that include PAWS can gain much from restoration like this.  Biodioversity-rich habitats like these can be sensitively and lovingly brought back to their former glory. Don’t let the politicians PAWS for breath (see what I did there?) – for all the benefits they bring we want to see the restoration of ancient woodlands to be part of our new Parliament’s priorities.

Please share this, and feel free to add your comments below:


About these ads

About Nikki Williams

Head of Campaigning for the Woodland Trust
This entry was posted in Conservation, England, General election, Government Affairs, Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

What do you think about this topic?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s