It’s perhaps easy to think that nature should just be ‘left alone’ but many forests need to be actively managed to enhance their biodiversity. This is because many of our forests were actually shaped by man's practises over centuries meaning that the ecology they support is dependent on those conditions being sustained. Forest management must take a long view and our commitment spans decades.
The diversification of woodland is a vital element of enhancing biodiversity and wildlife habitats. Among the many methods to support this, trees can be coppiced and thinned so that sunlight can reach the forest floor stimulating natural regeneration, and the mix of new native trees is carefully considered and planned. In addition, a network of well managed rides and glades within a forest provide crucial additional habitat and biodiversity. Alongside ecological management, trails are managed and signposted, and recreational facilities are provided to ensure both people and nature can thrive alongside one another. The income and support we provide helps Forestry England, Forest and Land Scotland, and Natural Resources Wales manage Britain' forests on behalf of us all.
Woodland management in action at Blackwood Forest
Since opening in 2013, Forest Holidays has been helping to manage a rich woodland of mixed age and species, through:
- Creating rides, glades and woodland enrichment areas
- Woodland edge augmentation planting
- Removing conifers, reducing the density of beech plantation and planting native trees to restore the woodland to a semi-natural condition
- Moving to a traditional coppicing regime
- Meadow mowing and management to restore these areas to biodiversity rich grassland meadows, creating ideal habitats for reptiles, invertebrates and rare flora, including slow worm, butterflies and greater butterfly orchid chamomile
- Creating additional dormouse habitats and introducing nest boxes for birds and bats
- Leaving standing dead wood and creating ‘habitat piles’
- Ranger-led education activities