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West Weald Landscape Project Conference: A secure future for Chiddingfold Forest
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West Weald Landscape Project Conference: A secure future for Chiddingfold Forest

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Presentation from West Weald Landscape Project Conference 22 May 2014

Presentation from West Weald Landscape Project Conference 22 May 2014

Published in: Environment, Technology, Business

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  • 1. A Sustainable Vision for Chiddingfold Forest – Preparing a new Forest Design Plan Jay Doyle District Ecologist South England Forest District May 2014
  • 2. Location
  • 3. Overview • A Key Forest complex at the Northern edge of the West Weald Landscape • Forestry Commission England (FCE) manage 840 hectares (ha) of Chiddingfold Forest • 500 ha or 90% of the SSSI by area managed by FCE • Ancient woodland the dominant habitat • Land acquired between 1922 and 1958 (majority of acquisitions during 1920’s) • Significant conversion to coniferous plantation post-WWII
  • 4. Overview • During 1999/2000 the entire Ancient Woodland resource on the PFE surveyed • Ancient & Native Woodland Restoration commenced from 2000 onwards • National Policy launched in Chiddingfold Forest in 2005 – ‘Keepers of Time’ • Chiddingfold Forest is certified as been sustainably managed by the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAWS)
  • 5. Key Policy Drivers • UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) www.ukwas.org.uk • UK Forestry Standard www.forestry.gov.uk/ukfs • Ancient Woodland Restoration - ‘Keepers of Time’ • FC-BC Joint Strategy for the Public Forest Estate – Chiddingfold a Priority Site • Biodiversity 2020 • Woodland Policy Enabling Programme (WPEP)
  • 6. Landscape context
  • 7. SSSI Notification • Largest more or less continuous area of oakwoods on the Weald Clay • Diverse range of floristic communities • Gill woodland corridors • Extensive ride network • Diverse insect community – both open and closed habitat assemblages • Regionally scarce bryophytes and lichens • Diverse community of breeding birds
  • 8. Tenure
  • 9. SSSI Extent
  • 10. Ancient woodland extent
  • 11. ASNW - PAWS
  • 12. Semi-natural class
  • 13. Tree species proportions 1999 Chid_Species_1999 Norway spruce 6% Western hemlock 7% Mixed conifer 4% Corsican pine 20% Scots pine 3% Oak 36% Mixed broadleaves 24%
  • 14. Tree species proportions 2014 Species Composition (-open) Oak 44% MB 24% NS 2% WH 4% MC 4% CP 20% SP 2%
  • 15. Timber age class Broadleaf 4% 2% 6% 20% 3% 1% 1% 2% 27% 4% 1% 3% 1% 3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 1 - 10 11 - 20 21 - 30 31 - 40 41 - 50 51 - 60 61 - 70 71 - 80 81 - 90 91 - 100 101 - 110 111 - 120 121 - 130 131 - 140 Age Class Percentageof TotalArea Conifer 0% 2% 6% 2% 23% 46% 0% 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 1 - 10 11 - 20 21 - 30 31 - 40 41 - 50 51 - 60 61 - 70 71 - 80 81 - 90 91 - 100 101 - 110 111 - 120 121 - 130 131 - 140 Age Class Percentageof TotalArea Broadleaf/Conifer Area 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 1 - 10 11 - 20 21 - 30 31 - 40 41 - 50 51 - 60 61 - 70 71 - 80 81 - 90 91 - 100 101 - 110 111 - 120 121 - 130 131 - 140 Age Class Percentageof TotalArea Broadleaf Conifer
  • 16. FDP’s Explained • A Forest Design Plan (FDP) is a strategic document setting out a broad vision for a Forest Block • FDP’s set a 30-year vision • Reviewed at the 5-year interval • Re-written every 10 years • Developed through consultation • Written from a landscape scale perspective
  • 17. 1999-2006 FDP • Location Map • Design Concept layer • Survey layer – SSSI boundary, key species locations, footpaths etc • Existing Species layer • Felling layer • Replanting proposals
  • 18. New FDP Layers • Location map • Aerial photo • SSSI condition layer • Ancient woodland semi-natural scoring (1-4) • Indicative Species Diversity (no. tree species) • Indicative Age Diversity (20 year cohorts) • Long Term Vision • Habitat restoration and felling • Predicted Timeline for Intended Future Habitats
  • 19. Native woodland regeneration
  • 20. Natural regeneration
  • 21. High forest restructuring
  • 22. Corridor enhancement Butterfly Conservation
  • 23. Gill woodland
  • 24. Forest wetland habitat
  • 25. Ephemeral habitat
  • 26. Deer management
  • 27. Invasive species
  • 28. Partnership working
  • 29. Informing Planning & Management
  • 30. Opportunities • Continued progress with ancient & native woodland restoration • Restructuring of the broadleaf woodland component • Gill woodland restoration • Enhance & maintain woodland rides • Increasing the dead and decaying wood component • Deepening of partnership working & volunteer input • Improved interpretation & expansion of sensitive recreation & educational activities
  • 31. Opportunities • Enhanced ecological recording & monitoring opportunities • Better use of ecological data to inform planning and management • Species Recovery Projects • Ecosystem service provision & Natural Capital • Expansion of the SSSI to cover the wider ancient woodland resource
  • 32. Things to consider? • Alternatives To Clearfell (ATC) • Balancing stakeholder aspirations to achieve a shared vision • Sustaining uneconomic activities – derelict coppice management • Balancing protected species legislation with dynamic habitat management
  • 33. Things to consider? • Climate change – potential for increased impact on woodland infrastructure • Tree health – pathogens & pests • Species resilience • Invasive species – horizon scanning required • Deer management – landscape scale solutions the way forward • A global timber market
  • 34. Questions? Jay Doyle District Ecologist South England Forest District 01483 326270 Jay.doyle@forestry.gsi.gov.uk