Why Manage Woodland?
Woods have a big impact on the Surrey Hills landscape. Woodlands are equally important for the people that live and work in and around them and to the wildlife they support. Well-managed woodlands can produce a mosaic of habitats capable of supporting light demanding and shade tolerant species. In fact it is this management of light which help to determine the abundance, or otherwise, of a wide variety of species. Management is particularly needed where a long history of rotational coppicing has suddenly stopped. The Surrey Hills has over four and a half thousand hectares of ancient woodland, which is an irreplaceable resource, which once lost, can never be restored.
Biodiversity value and current threats
Woodlands are an important habitat for wildlife such as mammals (bats and dormice), birds (nightingales and woodpeckers) and butterflies (fritillaries and hairstreaks). Managed woodlands may support a greater variety of woodland wild flowers and butterflies than unmanaged woodlands. Old-growth woodland, however, supports species not found in managed woodlands, and is a valuable habitat in its own right. Not all woodlands require a diverse range of habitats to be of conservation value, as some may have a very specific biodiversity interest. Woodlands of the Surrey Hills are currently threatened by increasing development, a lack of awareness; fragmentation of ownership particularly to enable leisure use; lack of knowledge; lack of management and lack of markets.
The Forestry Commission have produced some very informative videos on coppicing and the benefits to wildlife of coppicing click here to view