Hatfield Forest: Cutting down and replanting trees 'good for wildlife'

PUBLISHED: 14:49 23 September 2009 | UPDATED: 07:23 30 May 2010

Hatfield forest wardens are clearing space for native trees to encourage wildlife

Hatfield forest wardens are clearing space for native trees to encourage wildlife

THANKS to a grant from the Forestry Commission, Hatfield Forest is going back to its roots by restoring an area of trees back to native woodland. In a move regarded as much better for Hatfield s thriving wildlife non-native trees are being cut down to mak

THANKS to a grant from the Forestry Commission, Hatfield Forest is going back to its roots by restoring an area of trees back to native woodland.

In a move regarded as much better for Hatfield's thriving wildlife non-native trees are being cut down to make way for broadleaf trees native to the UK.

The new trees will be seedlings taken from Hatfield itself earlier in the year, and are currently being lovingly nurtured in visitors' gardens.

This process is known as 'deconiferisation' and is now encouraged as a good way of restoring old woodland habitats that are much better for wildlife.

Head warden, Henry Bexley, said: "Anyone who's ever stood in the depths of a conifer plantation will know that they're not the best places for wildlife, so it's brilliant to have a grant from the Forestry Commission to restore some of our ancient woodland at Hatfield.

"There's so much wildlife to see and enjoy in the forest, and this work will provide even more great habitats, so the long-term results will be fantastic and help safeguard wildlife for the future.

Business as usual

It is business as usual while the work is going on, it is quite dramatic in fact so why not pop down and follow the progress by talking to the wardens about it."

Like many plantations, the ones at Hatfield, which are mostly conifers and non-native species, were planted in the post-war years when the government was worried about having very low reserves of timber in the case of another war.

But as technology developed and times changed, this timber was no longer needed and it was recognised that conifer plantations are bad for wildlife.

Once the deconiferisation work is complete, the new native tress will be turned into coppice, an ancient way of managing woodland that provides excellent habitat for wildlife and materials for traditional woodland crafts.

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