UKTC Archive

RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

Subject: RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?
From: Tim Moya
Date: Feb 10 2021 09:54:28
Thanks Mark - I skipped to the results but they were interesting. I hadn't 
realised that this had been followed up

Tim Moya 


-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info <uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> 
On Behalf Of Mark Mackworth-Praed
Sent: 10 February 2021 09:41
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

Hi Tim

There was a later paper, 25 years on: 
https://academic.oup.com/forestry/article/90/4/561/3572448
Results were a bit mixed, attributed largely to different soil conditions at 
the receptor site from those of the donor site.

Best wishes
Mark M-P

-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info <uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> 
On Behalf Of Tim Moya
Sent: 10 February 2021 09:25
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

I recall that during the Channel Tunnel construction Rodney Helliwell 
undertook the relocation of ancient woodland soil and wrote up the results.
https://academic.oup.com/forestry/article/69/1/57/545885. No idea what 
happened in the longer term and Rodney is sadly no longer with us.

Tim Moya 


-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info <uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> 
On Behalf Of Mark Mackworth-Praed
Sent: 09 February 2021 17:58
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

I think the '400 years' thesis may be a bit optimistic, possibly deriving 
from the date of 1600 AD having been selected (in England at least) during 
the C20 as the conventional date for assigning the AW categorisation to a 
woodland - i.e. if there was evidence that it was a woodland at that date, it 
could be considered 'ancient'. But there was an assumption underlying this, 
which was that if a site was wooded in 1600, it was  likely to have been 
continuously wooded throughout historical times before that, and possibly 
even back to the post-glacial period.
However, as we're continually discovering, landscape evolution is likely to 
have been more complex than this - and also a historical factor often 
forgotten was the reduction of the population of the British Isles in the mid 
C14 by, it's thought, around one-third due to the Black Death, leading to 
widespread abandonment of tracts of former agricultural land. On which, one 
assumes, woodland was able to grow through natural succession subsequently.
And as Rod said, the cyclical management by humans (coppicing etc.) is/was 
crucial to the development and survival of AW plant & invertebrate 
communities - so it's not just a case of planting it and coming back 600, 
800, or 1000 years later to see what it's doing. 
'You can't rush evolution' - very true, unless of course you happen to be a 
spiky sort of virus.

Mark M-P


-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info <uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> 
On Behalf Of benjaminfuest758@xxxxxxxxxxx.com
Sent: 09 February 2021 15:23
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: Re: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

Absolutely Jim. You can’t rush evolution.

Sent from my iPhone

On 9 Feb 2021, at 14:59, oldoaktree@xxxxxxxxx.net 
<uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> wrote:

Hi Jim,

Yes I remember you talking about that. They did the right thing to give up 
if they wanted to be back home for tea. In 2150.  

The woodland I have been talking about has been, in part, degraded by 
conifer plantations but the FC, bless erm, have been putting it right by 
replacing with broadleaf natives as of late.

Like you say, a woodland is only part trees, and I would gamble that under 
the ground is more important than over it, as it is often seen when 
plantations on ancient woodlands are often overtaken by the natural flora 
because the soil and its massive array of co-conspirators can’t but help to 
restore the 'ecological cathedral'. Good on 'erm.

Go easy

Dave



-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info 
<uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> On Behalf Of Jim Quaife
Sent: 09 February 2021 14:33
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

I'm sure that I've posted this before but in the 70s the FC excavated a 
cubic metre (literally a cube) from a sitka plantation to count the number 
of organisms present, microscopic and otherwise.  They gave up at a million.
AW is as much to do with the soil as trees and one cannot plant an AW, but 
one can plant a woodland which has the potential to become one.
Jim

-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info 
[mailto:uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info] On Behalf Of 
oldoaktree@xxxxxxxxx.net
Sent: 09 February 2021 13:16
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

Thanks for all of your replies, illuminating and thought provoking.

I'm not in a position to say much on here, but as an Arb it is so sad to 
see such wanton ignorance about these, to use a Chris Packham phrase, 
'Ecological Cathedrals'. 

I'm just reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Everything which I 
thoroughly recommend and the extent of what we don’t know is a real take 
home factor from this very accessible book. Some of it is very funny too 
which always goes down well with me!

Indulge me a quote on fungi "gather together all the fungi in a typical 
hectare of meadowland and you will have 2800 kilogrammes of the stuff. 
These are not marginal organisms. - Altogether, about 70 thousand species 
have been identified but it is thought the total number could be as high as 
1.8 million".

That book was wrote in 2003 so I wouldn't be surprised if those figures are 
a lot higher now.

Cheers

Dave




-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info 
<uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> On Behalf Of Jon Heuch
Sent: 09 February 2021 12:34
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: Re: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

Dave



It's quite a challenge since it is a categorisation (I was told off once by 
describing ASNW as a designation) so it cannot be recreated:



i)                    About 400 years

ii)                   You will need a time machine to enter the plot on some
ancient maps to make sure that each subsequent map shows the area to 
be wooded



However, If you are asking how long will it take for a bare patch of 
land to develop into woodland with some good ecological features of 
course the best model is the Rothamsted fields that were left.
Wildnerness was the word adopted then; now we might used the term 
re-wilding. They are very well documented 
http://www.era.rothamsted.ac.uk/index.php?area=home
<http://www.era.rothamsted.ac.uk/index.php?area=home&page=index&datase
t=8> &page=index&dataset=8. They have been around for 140 years so you 
may have a lot of reading to do to work out what sort of time frame you 
want to consider.



Jon






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