You are here
The woodland action group
This group was formed through
the Rural Renaissance Initiative, as a project which had many
crosscutting themes. The ATC brought the group together to help
identify the potential for biomass opportunities in the area whilst
ensuring that all parties work to a common plan. The following draft
plan has been put together by the group.
DRAFT WOODLAND ACTION PLAN
At present, in Calderdale the
majority of woodlands fall into the NVC classes W10 and W16, both of
which equate to the lowland mixed deciduous woodland national
Both wet woodland and upland
oak woodland habitats are rare in Calderdale. The South Pennines are
on the fringe of what is classified upland by the UK BAP and, as
such, does not have significant areas of NVC classes W11 and W17,
Upland Oak Woodland.
Wet woodlands, NVC classes W1
to W7, are similarly rare in Calderdale, although this is largely
due to land drainage and agricultural improvements.
The most ecologically
important woodlands are listed in the Inventory of Ancient Woodland
(IAW), West Yorkshire, and the distribution of these woodlands in
Calderdale is shown on Map 1
Calderdale has approximately 1400 ha of woodland
(3.8% woodland cover) of which 660 ha is recorded in the Inventory
of Ancient Woodland.
Virtually all of Calderdale’s woodlands can be
described as being in an unfavourable condition, consisting mainly
of relatively dense even aged stands. A combination of an almost
total lack of management in the recent past and a history of stock
grazing has seriously degraded many woodlands.
Throughout Calderdale, woodlands tend to occur on the
steep scarp slopes associated with the district’s deep incised valleys. The
majority of the oak clough woodlands have been excessively grazed and many
are facing total destruction.
Where management has been undertaken in recent times,
this has primarily been related to access improvements with limited
silvicultural works being undertaken. Few woodlands have active ecological
management plans in place.
Current Factors Causing Loss Or Decline
· Grazing –
domestic stock has been, and continues to be, grazed in many of the
district’s woodlands and this has had a detrimental effect on the natural
regeneration and floral diversity of many woodlands.
species – as well as herbaceous woody species, which can have adverse
effects on regeneration, non-indigenous tree species such as sycamore and
beech is included in this category.
management, including lack of management, has resulted in many woodlands
having a poor age and species structure.
pressures – Calderdale has a shortage of suitable development land and, as
such, pressures on some woodland sites is very high.
pressures – a significant number of woodlands in the district are close to
large urban populations and are subject to high levels of recreational use.
This can potentially be detrimental to the woodland ecosystem.
pollution has had a significant impact on growth of trees and associated
flora e.g. lichens.
Calderdale Countryside and Forestry Unit has established
a number of Forestry Commission Grant Contracts on some areas of publicly
owned woodland. These contracts relate largely to access improvement works,
although most do include some habitat and silvicultural work.
Calderdale Countryside and Forestry Unit has also been
actively pursuing a programme of new woodland planting through Landscape
Conservation Grants (1986 – 1990) and the Million Trees Initiative (1991 –
present). This has seen the creation of approximately 130 ha of new woodland
at 84 sites, consisting largely of native oak and birch species, many grown
SCOSPA have produced an “Integrated Management Strategy
And Conservation Plan for the South Pennines Moors SPA”, which covers the
Southern Pennines Natural Area. The plan aims to increase and enhance the
key habitats within the SPA and surrounding areas and support the
implementation of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
Treesponsibility, a local voluntary organisation, have
been actively pursuing a planting program targeted primarily on sites in the
upper valley area. In the past five years the group have planted 10 ha of
new native woodlands.
The England Forestry Strategy produced by the Forestry
Commission describes how the Government will deliver its forestry policies
as well as setting out the Government’s priorities and programmes for the
next ten years. Included within the document are proposals to protect
existing woodlands and to use the biodiversity action planning process as a
guide to nature conservation.