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  • Writer's pictureBBC

Forests to be 'left to nature' in biodiversity boost

More than 8,000 hectares of land will be left to nature to help boost wildlife and biodiversity.

The new forest management project by Forestry England will be carried out in four areas, including Castle Neroche in Somerset and Kielder Forest in Northumberland.

The project will include several activities, such as the possible reintroduction of lost wildlife like butterflies, rare plants and beavers, and the moving of funghi to restore soil.

Andrew Stringer, Forestry England’s Head of Environment, said: “We will intervene less in these four wild areas, giving nature the time and space to reshape the forest landscape.”

Forestry England said the areas, which also include Newtondale in North Yorkshire and Purbeck in Dorset, will welcome visitors but will continue to be a source of sustainable timber through an innovative model of productive forestry.

'Climate resilience'

Mr Stringer said while they do not know exactly how each of the areas will change, the "uncertainty is a positive part of being experimental and allowing natural processes to shape each landscape in the years ahead".

“We are confident that whatever happens these areas will become more nature-rich, with benefits for neighbouring landscapes," he added.

He said that forestry will “still be an essential activity” but that over time the benefits of less intervention “will be enormous in terms of climate resilience, reversing biodiversity loss, providing greater natural capital benefits to society such as natural flood mitigation, soil health, air quality and carbon storage”.

Forestry England, which manages more than 250,000 hectares across the country, said the project is being funded by the Government and Forest Holidays.

The work will also be carried out alongside nature restoration and scientific data-gathering experts to analyse progress.


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