UKTC Archive

Re: [EXTERNAL] RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

Subject: Re: [EXTERNAL] RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?
From: Jerry Ross
Date: Feb 23 2021 10:52:25
Ancient woodland is not the same as a veteran tree, which doesn't necessarily have to be hugely old. It's essentially an ecological designation, not one directly associated with age. Any definition of ancient woodland should by rights be ecological too, relying on the complex of interdependent organisms it supports and the habitats  (including but not exclusively the soil) they rely on. But it's got mixed up with reductive peudo-legal definitions.




On 23/02/2021 10:30, Harrison, Sean wrote:
Hi Oldoaktree,
I apologise if it has already been stated but in answer to your question; it 
will take as long as it takes your tree species to become veteran.
However, it is the soil that is the most important component of ASNW.
After all, the theory suggests that if you can trace your plot of woodland on 
old estate maps going back to 1600 AD, or even further back, then the 
likelihood is that the woodland is a remnant of the original established 
woodland component at that site. Thus, the soil has never been tilled, turned 
or fiddled with in any way. It is as natural as it gets in that location - 
except for the addition of modern airborne particulates that is.
So, unless you can find a plot of land that has never been dug, ploughed, 
mined, built on or had any other such mucking about with, you may have a 
collection of very old trees but the soil will not be the same as that found 
at other ASNW sites.

Sean

-----Original Message-----
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Sent: 09 February 2021 13:16
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] RE: How long does an ancient woodland take to develop?

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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&dataset=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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