What are “ancients of the future”?
There is something about ancient trees that inspires wonder; they are often rich in history and cultural heritage. But ancient trees, historic wood pasture and parkland are also some of the most important and exciting habitats for wildlife in the UK. An astonishing amount of UK wildlife is reliant on these ancient trees – over 2000 species. The trees, habitats and wonderful wildlife features seem indomitable, but actually they are under threat and declining.
Why is this habitat at risk?
The key challenge facing ancient trees and the wildlife that relies on them is habitat continuity. Without that much of their wildlife will be unable to survive. There is a growing threat from the increased prevalence of tree diseases and, potentially, climate change. Of greatest concern is the age gap between the existing ancient trees, rich in biological and cultural history, and the “ancients of the future”.
How we’ll bring back the “ancients of the future”
This Back from the Brink Project will work with landowners and managers in key places across England. We will secure that vital continuity in some of our most iconic landscapes, focussing on 28 highly threatened species. These include the violet click beetle, the Royal splinter cranefly, eagle’s claw lichen, coral tooth fungi, knothole moss and the noctule bat.
We will call on expert and citizen science, and trial new survey and management techniques. Crucially, we will work with a range of practitioners from land managers, to tree surgeons and historic landscape architects, developing a tool box of training, information and guidance, to influence how sites are managed in future and raise awareness about species. We want to change public attitudes to ancient trees and decay-loving creatures and fungi, and we’ll offer close-up encounters with some of our most threated and elusive ancient tree wildlife.
What we’re aiming for
By the end of the Project, we aim to have increased the resilience of ancient trees and landscapes in target areas, protecting them from existing and emerging threats. In particular, we want to ensure there will be that vital continuity of habitat far into the future. Our knowledge on threatened species and how to conserve them will be increased and measures put in place to secure their future.