Rewilding and habitat restoration

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Gfamily
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Gfamily » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:26 am

A cousin has bought a 5 acre pasture near their home that they are rewilding as a carbon capture meadow.
There will be several years of continuing to harvest for hay, which local farmers will cut and remove, which has the effect of reducing soil fertility. However, before the farmers will want the hay they need to remove the dock - which they are having to do manually.
I'd suggest a quick spot application of glyphosate to the plants, but they wouldn't want to use herbicides.

They have heard that meadows can capture more carbon in the soil than woodland, though I'm not sure of the figures.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:30 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:05 am
"Natural" woodlands are managed by suites of herbivores, whose diverse feeding methods have different impacts on vegetation. Those herbivores are in turn managed by predators stalking the herds, causing them to shift about over time and thus creating a mosaic of habitats in different successional stages.

Management by humans is necessary only because those herbivores and predators are mostly extinct in Europe.

For this reason there is no unmanaged-but-natural woodlands in West Europe. Białowieża in Poland is probably the closest example - and it's awesome https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5% ... BCa_Forest
Depending upon how you define West Europe, there are also vast areas of Taiga which are not managed by humans.

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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:00 am

lpm wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:22 am
Knepp needs carefully management. Some of that is cheap, but at the end of the day it needs professional care - not least to work out where they go wrong and need to change course.

It's a hell of a long way from "woodland restoration is pretty cheap, luckily: just fence off a big area and limit grazing." You need to both limit grazing and allow grazing. One area I know well gets New Forest ponies brought up for a few months a year, then transported back. It's not like we just let deer and boar and wolves wander back.
Sure. When I said "limit" I didn't mean "reduce to zero". You need less deer (especially the introduced species like Muntjac), and more cattle and horses and pigs.

Knepp is big enough that the animals don't have to be moved around by people - they wander around all year within the fences. I think they have vet inspections, and they shoot some to keep densities down (which are sold as meat). Nevertheless it is more economically profitable now than it was as a conventional farm, even though they don't get paid for any of the carbon storage, biodiversity restoration, floodwater storage etc that they're doing.

A sensible economic system that charged farmers for externalities like nitrogen pollution and pollinator declines, and paid landowners for things like carbon, water and biodiversity, absolutely would tip the balance in favour of Knepp-like systems.

But my main point was that there are economies of scale with land management as with anything else. Managing a free-ranging herd of cattle requires much less manpower than mowing/coppicing an equivalent area, and delivers better results.

(And if you don't care about biodiversity and only want to store carbon, you don't even need to bother with your own grazers - just keep deer out long enough for trees to regrow. It does require long-term commitment as you say - some kind of government-backed "biodiversity bond", perhaps?)

This is the kind of economics we should be thinking about when we talk about how to achieve the landscape-scale ecological restoration that's necessary to confront the biodiversity and climate crises.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:07 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:30 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:05 am
"Natural" woodlands are managed by suites of herbivores, whose diverse feeding methods have different impacts on vegetation. Those herbivores are in turn managed by predators stalking the herds, causing them to shift about over time and thus creating a mosaic of habitats in different successional stages.

Management by humans is necessary only because those herbivores and predators are mostly extinct in Europe.

For this reason there is no unmanaged-but-natural woodlands in West Europe. Białowieża in Poland is probably the closest example - and it's awesome https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5% ... BCa_Forest
Depending upon how you define West Europe, there are also vast areas of Taiga which are not managed by humans.
Yes, true.

A lot of UK land managers are convinced that managing predators is essential to conserve ground-nesting birds.

And yet, northern Scandinavia and Russia have shitloads more than the keepered estates of the UK, despite having next to no management whatsoever (outside of forestry areas).

Predation does seem to be a bigger problem in the UK, but that in turn is because
1. the remaining areas of suitable habitat are tiny and fragmented
2. predator populations are probably increased massively by supplementary feeding from game bird releases.

There's always the thorny issue of "how to we get there from here", unfortunately. Currently, nature in the UK depends on intensively managing a plethora of tiny, often quite degraded sites. The alternative is restoring ecologically functioning landscapes. But it's hard to know how to manage landscapes in the process of recovery.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by lpm » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:11 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:30 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:05 am
"Natural" woodlands are managed by suites of herbivores, whose diverse feeding methods have different impacts on vegetation. Those herbivores are in turn managed by predators stalking the herds, causing them to shift about over time and thus creating a mosaic of habitats in different successional stages.

Management by humans is necessary only because those herbivores and predators are mostly extinct in Europe.

For this reason there is no unmanaged-but-natural woodlands in West Europe. Białowieża in Poland is probably the closest example - and it's awesome https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5% ... BCa_Forest
Depending upon how you define West Europe, there are also vast areas of Taiga which are not managed by humans.
Let's exclude the billions of acres in Scotland that can be used to create a Bialowieza, with proper wolves and bears and stuff. That's not really where the problem is in this woodlands report, or the problem for new woodlands.

In England we've got woods of, say, 100 acres. Highly productive for centuries. Now not productive and not in good condition, but with the potential to be good carbon capturers. For the past hundred years these woodland haven't had a purpose, which is probably why they've declined. Are we now saying "Their purpose is carbon capture" and setting out with this specific goal in mind? Or is it still some blurred mix of goals that haven't really been thought out, like "let's have butterflies and nice places to walk and capture carbon"?

We've got this marginal farmland going broke in England and we want more woodland. Obviously it's not going to be Bialowieza with proper mix of herbivores and predators. And we don't want plantations, which are easy to manage because there's nothing but a dead zone beneath the lines of conifers. But we can't hope for thousands of tourism destinations like Knebb with niche organic meat at high prices, although many more would be good. Are we just depending on keen locals, like Gfamily's cousin?

The question remains: are we committing ourselves to a couple of hundred years of managing woodlands? Will we need to ferry herbivores like cattle in and out to mimic natural predation cycles? Will we need experts travelling from 100 acre woods to the next, deciding if it's being over-grazed or under-grazed and whether there needs to be a cull of rhododendrons? Groups of volunteers turning up with their flasks of tea to hack away at the "wrong" plants?

Ultimately, isn't land and nature really hard to control, and this dream of good quality woodland needs a hell of lot more resources allocated to it than simply letting trees plant themselves?
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Grumble » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:35 am

In addition to woods that were managed for ages as woods, we have new woodland that has appeared on ex-industrial sites - what were old mines and railways for example. I’m not sure much of that has been planned, or how much of it there is.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:40 am

Grumble wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:35 am
In addition to woods that were managed for ages as woods, we have new woodland that has appeared on ex-industrial sites - what were old mines and railways for example. I’m not sure much of that has been planned, or how much of it there is.
It's basically all unplanned, spontaneous regeneration AIUI. There's quite a lot of it, and it's of very high conservation value. "Priority species" for conservation like Willow Tit are doing much better in those kinds of sites than in conventional nature reserves.


Apologies for lack of links to papers this morning- I'm on my phone. Can provide them later if there's things people want to read more about.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:00 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:11 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:30 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:05 am
"Natural" woodlands are managed by suites of herbivores, whose diverse feeding methods have different impacts on vegetation. Those herbivores are in turn managed by predators stalking the herds, causing them to shift about over time and thus creating a mosaic of habitats in different successional stages.

Management by humans is necessary only because those herbivores and predators are mostly extinct in Europe.

For this reason there is no unmanaged-but-natural woodlands in West Europe. Białowieża in Poland is probably the closest example - and it's awesome https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5% ... BCa_Forest
Depending upon how you define West Europe, there are also vast areas of Taiga which are not managed by humans.
Let's exclude the billions of acres in Scotland that can be used to create a Bialowieza, with proper wolves and bears and stuff. That's not really where the problem is in this woodlands report, or the problem for new woodlands.

In England we've got woods of, say, 100 acres. Highly productive for centuries. Now not productive and not in good condition, but with the potential to be good carbon capturers. For the past hundred years these woodland haven't had a purpose, which is probably why they've declined. Are we now saying "Their purpose is carbon capture" and setting out with this specific goal in mind? Or is it still some blurred mix of goals that haven't really been thought out, like "let's have butterflies and nice places to walk and capture carbon"?

We've got this marginal farmland going broke in England and we want more woodland. Obviously it's not going to be Bialowieza with proper mix of herbivores and predators. And we don't want plantations, which are easy to manage because there's nothing but a dead zone beneath the lines of conifers. But we can't hope for thousands of tourism destinations like Knebb with niche organic meat at high prices, although many more would be good. Are we just depending on keen locals, like Gfamily's cousin?

The question remains: are we committing ourselves to a couple of hundred years of managing woodlands? Will we need to ferry herbivores like cattle in and out to mimic natural predation cycles? Will we need experts travelling from 100 acre woods to the next, deciding if it's being over-grazed or under-grazed and whether there needs to be a cull of rhododendrons? Groups of volunteers turning up with their flasks of tea to hack away at the "wrong" plants?

Ultimately, isn't land and nature really hard to control, and this dream of good quality woodland needs a hell of lot more resources allocated to it than simply letting trees plant themselves?
As a general rule, the smaller the site the more intensive the management.

The visions you have of armies of volunteers pulling weeds are from small nature reserves. Obviously they don't scale well, as you point out. But they don't need to.

Goal-setting is obviously important. And part of that can be designing landscapes that don't need intensive human management.

An easy example is deer exclosures. Existing woodlands aren't regenerating, because most of the young trees get eaten by deer. There are loads of woodlands in the UK with no understory at all, which is super weird if you've ever seen a woodland anywhere else. Fence the deer out and you get thickets full of warblers and nightingales, which will develop into dense woodland. Carbon storage for the price of a perimeter fence. You're not committed to centuries of management, because trees get too big for deer to eat after a while.

Similarly, uplands will reforest automatically by massively reducing sheep density. There are quite a lot of trial schemes up north showing just this. Carbon storage and bonus flood risk reduction.

If you also want biodiversity, you do need to restore ecosystems rather than just trees, which is a bit more work with a bit more reward (recreation, pollination). But you could manage different areas differently, of course - smaller thickets for carbon, larger farm-sized ecosystems with grazers, some footpaths and campsites.

These are public benefits, so ought to be publicly funded, instead of subsidising overstocking of livestock that has the opposite effect. Unfortunately the government is crap, so a coalition of civil society groups and landowners might have to do most of the hard work and find the money.

But trying to "control" or micro-manage nature is a stupid idea. The failures of the last 100 years of conservation efforts show that it's very very expensive and doesn't work. Whereas Chernobyl-style exclusion zones that people are largely banned from managing are among the continent's best nature sites.

It's a challenge for the British temperament to unclench and let nature do its thing, though, I accept that.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:15 pm

We had a very short thread on micro forests a while ago. viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2193&p=70253&hilit ... sts#p70253

I think they're potentially a cool public engagement tool, and better for nature than a typical park lawn. But I think their value is pretty limited in the grand scheme of things - they are micro, after all ;)
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by tom p » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:16 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:11 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:30 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:05 am
"Natural" woodlands are managed by suites of herbivores, whose diverse feeding methods have different impacts on vegetation. Those herbivores are in turn managed by predators stalking the herds, causing them to shift about over time and thus creating a mosaic of habitats in different successional stages.

Management by humans is necessary only because those herbivores and predators are mostly extinct in Europe.

For this reason there is no unmanaged-but-natural woodlands in West Europe. Białowieża in Poland is probably the closest example - and it's awesome https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5% ... BCa_Forest
Depending upon how you define West Europe, there are also vast areas of Taiga which are not managed by humans.
Let's exclude the billions of acres in Scotland that can be used to create a Bialowieza, with proper wolves and bears and stuff. That's not really where the problem is in this woodlands report, or the problem for new woodlands.

In England we've got woods of, say, 100 acres. Highly productive for centuries. Now not productive and not in good condition, but with the potential to be good carbon capturers. For the past hundred years these woodland haven't had a purpose, which is probably why they've declined. Are we now saying "Their purpose is carbon capture" and setting out with this specific goal in mind? Or is it still some blurred mix of goals that haven't really been thought out, like "let's have butterflies and nice places to walk and capture carbon"?

We've got this marginal farmland going broke in England and we want more woodland. Obviously it's not going to be Bialowieza with proper mix of herbivores and predators. And we don't want plantations, which are easy to manage because there's nothing but a dead zone beneath the lines of conifers. But we can't hope for thousands of tourism destinations like Knebb with niche organic meat at high prices, although many more would be good. Are we just depending on keen locals, like Gfamily's cousin?

The question remains: are we committing ourselves to a couple of hundred years of managing woodlands? Will we need to ferry herbivores like cattle in and out to mimic natural predation cycles? Will we need experts travelling from 100 acre woods to the next, deciding if it's being over-grazed or under-grazed and whether there needs to be a cull of rhododendrons? Groups of volunteers turning up with their flasks of tea to hack away at the "wrong" plants?

Ultimately, isn't land and nature really hard to control, and this dream of good quality woodland needs a hell of lot more resources allocated to it than simply letting trees plant themselves?
If you have a 100 acre wood, the only management needed is keeping the heffalumps out.
Natural forest management species such as owls, rabbits (and their friends and relations), piglets, bears, kangaroos, donkeys and tigers will then come in and sort it out.

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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:19 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:00 pm
Fence the deer out and you get thickets full of warblers and nightingales, which will develop into dense woodland. Carbon storage for the price of a perimeter fence. You're not committed to centuries of management, because trees get too big for deer to eat after a while.

Similarly, uplands will reforest automatically by massively reducing sheep density. There are quite a lot of trial schemes up north showing just this. Carbon storage and bonus flood risk reduction.

If you also want biodiversity, you do need to restore ecosystems rather than just trees, which is a bit more work with a bit more reward (recreation, pollination). But you could manage different areas differently, of course - smaller thickets for carbon, larger farm-sized ecosystems with grazers, some footpaths and campsites.

These are public benefits, so ought to be publicly funded, instead of subsidising overstocking of livestock that has the opposite effect. Unfortunately the government is crap, so a coalition of civil society groups and landowners might have to do most of the hard work and find the money.

But trying to "control" or micro-manage nature is a stupid idea. The failures of the last 100 years of conservation efforts show that it's very very expensive and doesn't work. Whereas Chernobyl-style exclusion zones that people are largely banned from managing are among the continent's best nature sites.

It's a challenge for the British temperament to unclench and let nature do its thing, though, I accept that.
Yes, as long as you can prevent the sheep or deer from eating the young trees dense woodland will grow over a few decades. You'll get that naturally with any patch of land if you wait long enough, but people might prefer to speed up the process by planting trees. In arable farming areas an alternative to fences is to shoot enough of the deer (which may not even be expensive so long as there is a market for the meat). Apart from keeping the fences maintained or going shooting, humans don't need to do anything else if the only objective is to have new woodland.

However, I'm not as certain as Bird that such a strategy would be politically feasible for large areas. Basically, the UK would probably need to compensate landowners for the loss of income from fields that were turned into woodland. If we are envisioning huge areas being converted to wooded carbon sinks at great expense then I expect that the electorate will want more in return. They might be sold on the new woods and forests being recreation areas. But for that the woodland would need much more active management by humans.

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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:21 pm

Grumble wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:35 am
In addition to woods that were managed for ages as woods, we have new woodland that has appeared on ex-industrial sites - what were old mines and railways for example. I’m not sure much of that has been planned, or how much of it there is.
Found the recent study I was thinking of - based on former coalfields like Amberswood Common and the Wigan Flashes https://www.ceh.ac.uk/press/willow-tits ... ning-areas
“These areas might seem an unlikely haven for an endangered woodland bird, but as industrial activity declined, these huge areas rewilded. They’re covered with scrub, young woodland and marshy areas that the willow tits prefer.

“Brownfield sites have huge conservation value not just for willow tits, but a broad range of wildlife. It’s important we know their role so that it can be factored into environmental and planning policies.”
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:28 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:19 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:00 pm
Fence the deer out and you get thickets full of warblers and nightingales, which will develop into dense woodland. Carbon storage for the price of a perimeter fence. You're not committed to centuries of management, because trees get too big for deer to eat after a while.

Similarly, uplands will reforest automatically by massively reducing sheep density. There are quite a lot of trial schemes up north showing just this. Carbon storage and bonus flood risk reduction.

If you also want biodiversity, you do need to restore ecosystems rather than just trees, which is a bit more work with a bit more reward (recreation, pollination). But you could manage different areas differently, of course - smaller thickets for carbon, larger farm-sized ecosystems with grazers, some footpaths and campsites.

These are public benefits, so ought to be publicly funded, instead of subsidising overstocking of livestock that has the opposite effect. Unfortunately the government is crap, so a coalition of civil society groups and landowners might have to do most of the hard work and find the money.

But trying to "control" or micro-manage nature is a stupid idea. The failures of the last 100 years of conservation efforts show that it's very very expensive and doesn't work. Whereas Chernobyl-style exclusion zones that people are largely banned from managing are among the continent's best nature sites.

It's a challenge for the British temperament to unclench and let nature do its thing, though, I accept that.
Yes, as long as you can prevent the sheep or deer from eating the young trees dense woodland will grow over a few decades. You'll get that naturally with any patch of land if you wait long enough, but people might prefer to speed up the process by planting trees. In arable farming areas an alternative to fences is to shoot enough of the deer (which may not even be expensive so long as there is a market for the meat). Apart from keeping the fences maintained or going shooting, humans don't need to do anything else if the only objective is to have new woodland.

However, I'm not as certain as Bird that such a strategy would be politically feasible for large areas. Basically, the UK would probably need to compensate landowners for the loss of income from fields that were turned into woodland. If we are envisioning huge areas being converted to wooded carbon sinks at great expense then I expect that the electorate will want more in return. They might be sold on the new woods and forests being recreation areas. But for that the woodland would need much more active management by humans.
Ooo, I'm sure that political feasibility is the hard part. The science is pretty much settled.

I think a well-regulated, evidence-based carbon market is going to be pretty much essential for tackling the climate emergency. We already pay rural landowners loads of money to produce food while damaging the environment. An alternative - already mooted in the UK by Michael Gove when he was at DEFRA but now lost amongst the post-Brexit deregulation orgy - would be to pay rural landowners public money for public goods, such as carbon storage, biodiversity restoration and/or recreational access.

Things like agri-environment schemes already exist, they just don't work. But it ought to be possible to tweak that system to be more effective in meeting the immediate demands of the day.

Similarly there are rules on what kinds of things you can do within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. At the moment, there's no restriction on overgrazing or planting non-native plantations - but there could be. I think most people already assume that National Parks are managed for nature, so it oughtn't be too controversial to actually do it.

Under my dream proposal, I'd have the per-hectare payment scaling with total contiguous areas, so if a group of farmers in a particular region all banded together, or selected the bits of their land bordering an existing nature reserve, they'd get more money to reflect the added value of connectivity. But that's probably getting ahead of things.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:31 pm

Some examples from the internet, to prove I'm not making this up, before I get back to work ;)

Rewilding Britain say this on forest restoration:
When we talk about expanding our woodlands in a rewilding context, we’re talking about the protection and natural regeneration of an intricate mosaic of our ancient woodlands, natural forests and wood pastures.

Given sufficient seed sources and suitable site conditions, trees will plant themselves in their millions for free over as large an area of land as we want to spare. Seeds dispersed by weather and animals will root where they can, often in unexpected places, creating mosaics of habitats — from open clearings and groves of trees to thicker canopy cover.

There are many positive reasons for planting trees, particularly in urban areas or where there’s no seed source, but in most places nature does it better. This is as true for rewilding woodlands as it is for wetlands, rivers and our seas. Letting nature lead is the best way to achieve diversity, resilience and wonder.

But nature is also unpredictable. The speed and type of woodland that will establish through natural regeneration depends on the interaction of multiple factors:

Seed source including the frequency of seed production and forms of dispersal
Soil and ground conditions including soil type as well as past and current land use
Grazing pressure including the intensity and selectivity of grazing by wild and domestic herbivores
Vegetation cover including density and composition and associated competition for light, nutrients and moisture
Weather and micro-climate including warmth and moisture as events such as flooding

Sometimes we might need to give nature a helping hand — by reducing unnaturally high levels of grazing or clearing competing vegetation, for example. And if we want to embrace natural regeneration we have to embrace scrub.

Scrub is the thick, tangled, thorny vegetation, including blackberry and hawthorn, which usually appears first when grazing pressure is eased. It acts as a protector for seedlings against grazing and browsing animals. For years, in many places, scrub has been something to bash and clear to make the ground ​‘tidy’ again. But scrub is an essential component of regenerating woodland.

A rewilding approach

We recommend a three-step approach where natural regeneration is the default, with tree planting as a support option where needed.

1. Let nature lead Allow natural regeneration as a default approach unless trees and shrubs are unable to establish or would take too long to arrive — for example, due to distant seed sources, impenetrable sward, overgrazing).

2. Give nature a hand Kick-start the process by assisting natural regeneration — for example, through ground preparation, direct seeding, grazing control and so on.

3. Plant trees Plant locally sourced tree saplings (‘whips’) only where it’s still necessary, particularly where this positively engages local people and communities.

Taking this approach to increasing woodland can start to introduce the structural complexity and diversity of habitats that’s been missing from Britain for too long. It supports genetic mixing and the natural selection of trees best adapted to local circumstances. It should also increase resilience to climate change and disease. And that offers hope for a future of flourishing nature.
https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/exp ... -rewilding

ETA they also have a page on their work to influence policy, but I haven't had time to read it yet https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/abo ... d-practice
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:38 pm

Rewilding Europe also have some good pages on the principles, plus examples from the continent where large contiguous areas and semi-functioning ecosystems have been easier to find as a starting point:

https://rewildingeurope.com/rewilding-i ... er-nature/

For those interested in the economic aspects, they also have a page on how rewilding can benefit economies harmed by rural land abandonment, which has already been a big problem in many parts of Europe https://rewildingeurope.com/rewilding-i ... economies/
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:41 pm

By the way, Fishnut, there's also some discussion on the Woodland Crisis thread viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2364 - I could merge them, as that thread's really about restoration too?

Also, if you haven't seen it already, the Rewilding Britain site has a lot of good info and links on it, and AFAIAA they're pretty well respected within mainstream conservation circles. https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Fishnut » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:45 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:41 pm
By the way, Fishnut, there's also some discussion on the Woodland Crisis thread viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2364 - I could merge them, as that thread's really about restoration too?
If it's not too complicated that sounds like a good idea. I did dither over which thread to post in this morning so merging would solve that conundrum :)

Thanks for the other resources, I will take a look.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Grumble » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:55 pm

Buglife are trying to make “future ancients” in this vein

https://www.buglife.org.uk/projects/anc ... e-project/
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:18 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:45 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:41 pm
By the way, Fishnut, there's also some discussion on the Woodland Crisis thread viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2364 - I could merge them, as that thread's really about restoration too?
If it's not too complicated that sounds like a good idea. I did dither over which thread to post in this morning so merging would solve that conundrum :)

Thanks for the other resources, I will take a look.
The threads are now merged. Hopefully not too confusing, but I think it makes sense to collate the discussions.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:09 pm

A good blog on the needs and possible policy instruments to rewild National Parks, from Rewilding Britain:
In the US, the Federal Government owns vast swathes of protected public lands, including national parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone. In the UK, most of the land in our national parks is privately owned. National Park Authorities (NPAs) can therefore use their planning powers to restrict building and development within their boundaries but they have very few powers over the wider landscape to encourage nature recovery.

As a consequence, research shows that nature in our national parks is not in good shape:
  • Studies by RSPB and Friends of the Earth (FoE) found that on average just 26% of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) within England’s national parks are in favourable condition. In fact, SSSIs are in a worse condition inside our national parks than outside them.
  • Analysis by FoE revealed that woodland cover in some of our national parks is below urban levels – with the Yorkshire Dales, for instance, having lower woodland cover than London.
  • A recent film by geographer Dan Raven-Ellison, The UK’s National Parks in 100 Seconds, illustrates how much our national parks are dominated by overgrazed pastures, grouse moors and plantation forestry. In four national parks, pasture accounts for over half the land, while more than three-quarters of the South Down national park is agricultural
.
Hotlinking this image of the Peak District, which I think speaks for itself in terms of showing the degradation of a supposedly protected area:
Image
In 2019, the Glover Review – a UK Government-commissioned report into the state of our national landscapes – recommended that in future, national parks’ management plans ​‘should set clear priorities and actions for nature recovery’, including the creation of ​‘wilder areas’.

We’re still waiting for a UK Government response to the Glover Review to see if ministers will take up these recommendations. Even if they do, much more work is going to be needed to give this proposal some bite.
https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/blo ... hem-wilder
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Fishnut » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:11 pm

on average just 26% of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) within England’s national parks are in favourable condition. In fact, SSSIs are in a worse condition inside our national parks than outside them
bl..dy hell those are some depressing statistics.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:01 pm

For a more global perspective, it's also the UN Decade on Restoration. The UN Environment Program has some good info:
Restoration can happen in many ways – for example through actively planting or by removing pressures so that nature can recover on its own. It is not always possible – or desirable – to return an ecosystem to its original state. We still need farmland and infrastructure on land that was once forest, for instance, and ecosystems, like societies, need to adapt to a changing climate.

Between now and 2030, the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could generate US$9 trillion in ecosystem services. Restoration could also remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The economic benefits of such interventions exceed nine times the cost of investment, whereas inaction is at least three times more costly than ecosystem restoration.
The page has the typical picture of a black person standing next to a chopped-down tree, but most of the following applies to the UK as well:
For instance, degradation may result from harmful policies such as subsidies for intensive farming or weak tenure laws that encourage deforestation. Lakes and coastlines can become polluted because of poor waste management or an industrial accident. Commercial pressures can leave towns and cities with too much asphalt and too few green spaces.

Restoring ecosystems large and small protects and improves the livelihoods of people who depend on them. It also helps to regulate disease and reduce the risk of natural disasters. In fact, restoration can help us achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals.
https://www.decadeonrestoration.org/wha ... estoration
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by jimbob » Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:07 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:22 am
That is really depressing. And makes me even more concerned about all these tree planting schemes - I fear they're going to be used as a way of deflecting attention, "look, we do care, we're planting all these trees". Lots of trees don't make a woodland.
Indeed. Whilst at Dad's we looked at an oak on his boundary hedge. I couldn't get all the way around it, but it's at least 8m circumference, which online estimates suggests is probably over 700 years old. That'd not be replaced by a sapling or even 20 oaks planted in Napoleonic times.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:24 pm

Some recent research:

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases ... 042121.php
It is the landscape that ultimately decides the outcome of rewilding efforts, says Kenneth Rijsdijk, an ecologist at the University of Amsterdam, who is presenting the team's results at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2021.

One of the key challenges of rewilding is deciding where to do it, Rijsdijk says, especially given competing land-uses like infrastructure and agriculture. "Clearly, we cannot, and should not, rewild everywhere. It makes sense to pick out specific areas where rewilding is more likely to succeed, taking into account how landscape features, like ruggedness and soil nutrients, can shape ecosystems."

Ecologists gauge rewilding success using biodiversity metrics, such as an increase in the abundance and diversity of plant or bird species. But these measurements do not factor in the role of landscape: from the topography and river systems to the soil and underlying geology.

These aspects--known collectively as geodiversity--furnish all the physical support required for life on Earth. "Landscape plays a pivotal role in defining the ecosystem: determining where vegetation grows, herbivores graze, animals seek shelter, and predators hunt," Rijsdijk says.

"It's remarkable that, from a conservation standpoint, the landscape itself is significantly undervalued in the success of rewilding projects," says coauthor Harry Seijmonsbergen, an ecologist at the University of Amsterdam.

The team aims to build a more holistic index for measuring and predicting rewilding success.

Early applications of their approach--in northwestern Europe, at sites previously marked by the Dutch State Forestry Service as possible candidates for rewilding--show that more varied landscapes show greater conservation potential.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:13 am

A nice article on the regrowth of rainforest in England.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ainforests

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