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New book: Trees, Forested Landscapes and Grazing Animals

New book edited by Professor Ian Rotherham with chapters by Ted Green on ancient trees, and on re-wilding trees for ancients of the future by Jill Butler and Keith Alexander.

Trees, Forested Landscapes and Grazing Animals

The book considers the history of grazed treed landscapes, of large grazing herbivores in Europe, and the implications of the past in shaping our environment today and in the future. The book breaks new ground in broadening the scope of wood-pasture and woodland research to address sites and ecologies that have previously been overlooked but which hold potential keys to understanding landscape dynamics. Eminent contributors, including Oliver Rackham and Frans Vera, present a text which addresses the importance of history in understanding the past landscape, and the relevance of historical ecology and landscape studies in providing a future vision.

Summary of Jill Butler and Keith Alexander's chapter Re-wilding trees for ancients of the future

Ancient and veteran trees are rich reservoirs of biodiversity and cultural icons and in the UK, we are lucky that there are so many in our landscape. However, the disappearance of commons, orchards and parkland since the 1850s, and the removal of hedgerows have led to significant losses of open grown trees. There appears to be a growing imbalance between the loss of mature and ancient, open crowned trees and the regeneration of new trees to replace them. The Ancient Tree Forum and the Woodland Trust believe we must encourage tree establishment to ensure we have enough ancient trees in the future. Some of our oldest trees started life in a very unplanned way – perhaps the least influenced by man in Western Europe – but areas where self-sown trees can regenerate naturally and reach their full potential crown-spread in open wood pasture or parkland are now rare. There are advantages to such natural processes and they should be encouraged where possible to ensure ancient trees for the future. Landowners and professionals who want to establish trees where the landscape is kept open by grazing animals and they can develop full, open crowns have an important role to play. Open tree landscapes are the places, which in the past have been celebrated by landscape designers, artists and writers as some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK and are the most important today for species associated with ancient and veteran trees in old growth. It is however, sometimes necessary to plant trees. While there is plenty of existing guidance on planting to create or restock woods, plantations, orchards and hedgerows, and on planting trees in gardens and streets, there are some important factors to take into account if open crown trees are required in the long term.

For more information or purchase see the publisher's page.

mapping the UK's ancient
& special trees

The Ancient Tree Hunt is a living database of ancient and special trees. More than 110,000 trees have been recorded by volunteers and partners.

Highlights from the Ancient Tree Hunt database

Noddy's Tree, Staffs
An old Staffordshire oak known as Noddy's Tree - anyone know why?

Identifying individual trees by giving them a name probably goes back as far as the spoken language. Naming ancient trees appears to have been popularised in Victorian times who often linked trees to historical events. Some rather tenuous links may be due to a name moving to another tree following the loss of the original - a continuity tree. There have already been some remarkable trees recorded in 2013 including this wonderful old pollarded oak - with a girth of 8.3m girth. Locally it is called “Noddy’s Tree” but ATH Verifier Andy Smith has been unable to find out why. If you know the origin of the name given to this Staffordshire Oak, please let us know!

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Record trees on the ATH database