The aim of this project was to restore ancient woodland sites to their former condition and provide benefits the woodland and the wider environment. These habitats are known as Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) which are sites that contain evidence of former ancient woodland and have subsequently been planted with species not native to the area.
Restoration of these habitats can generally be broken down into three steps: removing threats to ancient woodland features, encouraging regeneration of desired species and formation of native canopy cover and finally, enhancing the site by adding certain features that are missing from the habitat.
Knowing the woodland is the most important part of any forest operation and is especially important for restoration. All the PAWS were surveyed in detail to identify the ancient woodland features we wanted to protect, the threats that affect them, and the most appropriate way to improve the woodland.
Mitigation or removal of threats throughout the PAWS areas, with particular emphasis on the most critical areas and most serious threats, was the first operation to prevent further decline. Further surveying was then carried out to find out what features were missing and why. Enhancement works were then planned based on this and long-term adaptive management planning was put in place to increase the woodlands' biodiversity and resilience to future threats.