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New inventory helps safeguard Surrey’s ancient woodland
Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) recently celebrated the completion of the revision of the Surrey Ancient Woodland Inventory, at a special event hosted by Surrey County Council at County Hall, Kingston Upon Thames.
This partnership project, which has mapped all the areas of ancient woodland in Surrey (using Geographical Information System computer software) in the interest of conservation, forms one of the most accurate and reliable habitat inventories in England and has taken two and a half years to complete. It replaces the original 1988 survey and includes woodlands smaller than 2 hectares in size for the very first time.
Ancient woodland (i.e. any site that has been continuously wooded since 1600 AD) is an irreplaceable and extremely valuable resource. It is the UK’s equivalent of rainforest and supports a rich diversity of plants and animals; many of which are rare and do not live anywhere else. Being under pressure from development in Surrey - the most wooded county in England and a highly desirable place for people to live and work - this inventory will help local authorities (which have a statutory duty to identify all ancient woodland within their area) ensure future development is environmentally sustainable and inform the conservation and management of ancient woodland.
The results of the survey show an increase in both the total number and area of ancient woodland sites in Surrey and the inventory now includes 2,827 sites, covering 11,935 Ha or 7.1% of the county. The project report details the changes in recognised ancient woodland for every Borough and District in Surrey; copies are available on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Biodiversity Information Centre at SWT on 01483 795488.
Rob Davies, SWT ancient woodland survey officer who compiled the inventory, said: “Now that we have this excellent tool showing where all the ancient woodland is within Surrey, the sites can hopefully be sympathetically managed for both biodiversity and sustainable economic gain.”
The report ‘A revision of the Ancient Woodland Inventory for Surrey’ was not the only product of the project. The methodology followed made use of the detailed county Tithe maps and Apportionments created in the 1840s, which provide the first accurate representation of land use in England. Previously available only on paper, and often several meters in size, the maps and the accompanying award documents are now available digitally for the first time thanks to the hard work of volunteers at the Surrey History Centre and will shortly be made available for purchase by the public on a parish by parish basis.
The project was funded by Elmbridge Borough Council, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, The Forestry Commission, Guildford Borough Council, Mole Valley District Council, Natural England, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, Runnymede Borough Council, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Surrey County Council, the Surrey Hills AONB Unit, Surrey Biodiversity Information Centre, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Tandridge District Council, Waverley Borough Council and Woking Borough Council.
|Date published:||Monday 11 July 2011|