Why are Ancient Woodlands important? 

 

Ancient Woodlands are the survivors of change.  In Scotland these are defined as sites that have been continually wooded since 1750 (NatureScot).  In many cases they contain trees that are hundreds of years old. 

 

Ancient woodlands are fascinating, important and "Irreplaceable habitats" (gov.uk).  Only 2.5% of the UK has Ancient Woodland cover remaining (woodlandtrust.org.uk), which is about one fifth of all woodland in the UK. 

 

In  Edinburgh we have 24 fragments of Ancient Woodland, and this project is viewing each of these remnants of Ancient forest as the epicentres of a future forest.  The future forest will help re-connect isolated forest fragments, improving habitat for wildlife, and sequestering carbon for all of us, and helping to alleviate the impacts of Climate Change. 

 

The future forest in the city?  Yes the future forest will be planted in people's gardens, driveways and balconies, as hedges and trees.  Helping to join up the Ancient Woodland sites. 

 

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The Ancient Woodland Project is a pilot education project, based in the City of Edinburgh.  The project has two aims; firstly to teach children how to identify and survey their local Ancient Woodland.  The second aim is to give each child a tree of their own to look after and plant in their own garden.  Through this planting of trees, we are creating a garden woodland surrounding the Ancient Woodlands, and this is helping to protect and connect the fragments of Ancient Woodlands.

 

We are using the data from the tree surveying to work out how old the trees are, and how much carbon they contain.  This information we are uploading to citizen science projects including the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Inventory and the Open University Treezilla project.  This will enable scientists to use our findings in their research. 

 

We are delighted to be working with several stakeholders, including the Edinburgh City Council Million Tree Project, Bruntsfield Primary School, South Morningside Primary School, The Friends of Craiglockhart Woodland, and the Friends of the Hermitage of Braid, the Edinburgh City Council Ranger Service, and the Green Team and the funders of this pilot project, The Heritage Lottery Fund.  Thank you all for your support.