Pollen analysis and planted ancient woodland restoration strategies: a case study from the Wentwood, southeast Wales,UK
Brown, A. D. (2010) Pollen analysis and planted ancient woodland restoration strategies: a case study from the Wentwood, southeast Wales,UK. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 19 (2). pp. 79-90. ISSN 0939-6314
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s00334-009-0227-5
This paper considers the contribution of pollen analysis to conservation strategies aimed at restoring planted ancient woodland. Pollen and charcoal data are presented from organic deposits located adjacent to the Wentwood, a large planted ancient woodland in southeast Wales. Knowledge of the ecosystems preceding conifer planting can assist in restoring ancient woodlands by placing fragmented surviving ancient woodland habitats in a broader ecological, historical and cultural context. These habitats derive largely from secondary woodland that regenerated in the 3rd–5th centuries A.D. following largescale clearance of Quercus-Corylus woodland during the Romano-British period. Woodland regeneration favoured Fraxinus and Betula. Wood pasture and common land dominated the Wentwood during the medieval period until the enclosures of the 17th century. Surviving ancient woodland habitats contain an important Fagus component that probably reflects an earlier phase of planting preceding conifer planting in the 1880s. It is recommended that restoration measures should not aim to recreate static landscapes or woodland that existed under natural conditions. Very few habitats within the Wentwood can be considered wholly natural because of the long history of human impact. In these circumstances, restoration should focus on restoring those elements of the cultural landscape that are of most benefit to a range of flora and fauna, whilst taking into account factors that present significant issues for future conservation management, such as the adverse effects from projected climate change.