Woodlands are large and complex entities which hold significant amounts of carbon in their trees, smaller plants, soils and other biodiversity. This carbon and the woodland’s carbon-cycle may be altered when there are physical changes made to that woodland or its management. This could be through tree or other plant species being changed or removed, or soils being disturbed, all of which may happen for a variety of management reasons.
In the process of restoring important ancient woodland sites it is likely there will be some disturbance and alteration of the whole woodland carbon system, irrespective of previous land-use (whether it is a planted woodland site and exotic conifers are removed, or native species altered, for example).
Current knowledge of the carbon potential of ancient woodlands before, during and following the restoration process was reviewed for the Woodland Trust. This was to better understand the carbon-related significance of these management processes and of the ancient woodlands themselves, and to begin to provide the basis for making high-quality carbon-related management decisions.