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

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

  1. 1. A Sustainable Vision for Chiddingfold Forest – Preparing a new Forest Design Plan Jay Doyle District Ecologist South England Forest District May 2014
  2. 2. Location
  3. 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. 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. 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. 6. Landscape context
  7. 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. 8. Tenure
  9. 9. SSSI Extent
  10. 10. Ancient woodland extent
  11. 11. ASNW - PAWS
  12. 12. Semi-natural class
  13. 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. 14. Tree species proportions 2014 Species Composition (-open) Oak 44% MB 24% NS 2% WH 4% MC 4% CP 20% SP 2%
  15. 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. 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. 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. 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. 19. Native woodland regeneration
  20. 20. Natural regeneration
  21. 21. High forest restructuring
  22. 22. Corridor enhancement Butterfly Conservation
  23. 23. Gill woodland
  24. 24. Forest wetland habitat
  25. 25. Ephemeral habitat
  26. 26. Deer management
  27. 27. Invasive species
  28. 28. Partnership working
  29. 29. Informing Planning & Management
  30. 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. 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. 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. 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. 34. Questions? Jay Doyle District Ecologist South England Forest District 01483 326270 Jay.doyle@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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