Habitat Creation | Woodland Management

woodland specification

For a woodland project to be successful and valuable in the future a plan or specifications will need to be drawn up. A step by step guide of factors that need to be considered are:

  1. Project background - including details on how the project came about, who is involved and responsibilities for the management of the project
  2. Survey & site description - describing physical characteristics and existing vegetation
  3. Objectives for the site - e.g. community park, or timber plantation
  4. Woodland type - traditional coppice or parkland
  5. Budget plan - for materials and labour
  6. Five year management plan, draw up, implement, then monitor with a review so any unforeseen changes can be made.

Tree Establishment

Trees and shrubs for small copses or woodlands should be planted at close spacings, of about 2m, and then later thinned. Even for intended groups of three or four trees, it is more effective to plant 30-40 whips, and then thin out at 5 years and again at 10 years to select the healthiest trees to keep.

Unless the failure rate has been high, thinning is essential to avoid creating a dense, shaded wood of spindly trees and straggling shrubs with little ground flora.

Number of trees per hectare can vary depending on the woodland design, here's an example:

Spacing (metres) Trees per Hectare (=10,000 sq metres)

1.0 = 10,000

10 = 100

Where woodland grants are being used (e.g. Forestry Commission), the amount of tree cover must be within the specified terms of the grant. For amenity use, the open spaces, wide paths and other features of a woodland, such as a pond or interpretation boards are of great value. This gives the visitor a increased sense of security and a variation in wildlife as woodland edges attract a wealth of flora and fauna.

Types of woodland include coppice, coppice with standard, high forest, parkland or pasture wood. These describe the traditional ways of growing trees, and refer not only to the type of woodland produced, but to the style of growth of an individual tree. These styles of growth, produced by pruning, are just as valid for small groups of trees as for large woodlands.

When considering soil, topsoil is not a good idea even if planting in a stony substrate as topsoil can become a problem by encouraging vigorous weed growth which competes with the trees.

Learn more on wildlife value of woodland trees in Britain

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