As trees age, they become ecologically richer and more full of life. The process of a tree, wood or forest becoming 'ancient', however defined, involves a vast and subtle web of relations – among the trees themselves, with other organisms, with the wider landscape and with human beings. A single tree can provide a vast array of habitats which are an integral part of the complex co-evolutionary relationships evolved over its lifetime and later during its sometimes long afterlife. From ancient times until today, trees and woods have inspired artists, writers and scientists; they have shaped cultures and reverberated through belief systems.
Yet worldwide, forest cover has declined dramatically over the last 1,000 years, and what remains has been more or less altered from its original condition. Today, 'virgin forests' are only to be found at a few sites unreachable by humans, and even then they are affected by climate change, atmospheric pollution and species extinctions. The aim of this book is to help an understanding of the web of connections relating to ancient trees and woodlands, and to offer techniques to ensure effective conservation and sustainability of this precious resource.
Ancient Woods, Trees and Forests considers the key issues from a range of different aspects and varied geographical locations, beginning with fundamental concepts and reflecting on the strengths and limitations of the idea of ancient trees. Individual chapters then deal with cultural heritage, the archaeology of trees, landscape history, forest rights, tree management, saproxylic insects, the importance of dead wood, practical conservation and monitoring, biodiversity, and wood pasture among many other themes. Fresh perspectives are put forward from across Europe as far as Turkey, as well as Great Britain. Overall, given the urgent need to discover, understand, conserve and restore ancient woodlands and trees, this publication will raise awareness, foster enthusiasm and inspire wonder.
1. Ancient woodland in concept and practice / George Peterken
2. The cultural heritage of woods and forests / Ian D. Rotherham
3. Archaeology of trees, woodland and wood-pasture / Oliver Rackham
4. Ancient rights in ancient forests / Graham Bathe
5. The importance of an open-grown tree: from seed to ancient / Ted Green
6. Ancient and other trees of special interest: indicators of old-growth biodiversity and heritage / Jill Butler
7. Worked trees and ecological indicators in wooded landscapes / Ian D. Rotherham
8. Ancient forests in Germany: distribution, importance for maintaining biodiversity, protection and threats / Monika Wulf
9. Tree abundance, density and age structure: the key factors that determine species richness in saproxylic invertebrates / Keith N.A. Alexander
10. Old growth and deadwood as key factors for nature conservation in managed forests / Harald Schaich, Thomas A.M. Kaphegyi, Rudolf Lühl, Nicole Schmalfuß, Mattias Rupp, Thomas Waldenspuhl and Werner Konold
11. The diversity of ancient woodlands in Austria: historical developments and contemporary social importance / Elisabeth Johann
12. Wood-pasture: for food, wood and biodiversity / Frans Vera
13. The ancient woodland concept as a practical conservation tool: the Turkish experience / Simay Kirca, Alper H. Çolak and Ian D. Rotherham
14. Using pollen data and models to assess landscape structure and the role of grazers in pre-agricultural Denmark / Anne Brigitte Nielsen
15. Tanneries and treescapes: the influence of the tanning industry on woodland management / Christine Handley and Ian D. Rotherham
16. A hidden treasure in Turkey: old oaks of unique value / Nicklas Jansson, Ogün Ç. Türkay and Mustafa Avci
17. Antiquity of ancient woodlands and cultures: the example of Sandras Mountain, Turkey / Alper H. Çolak, Simay Kirca and Ian D. Rotherham
18. Woods and trees in England’s Anglo-Saxon countryside / Della Hooke
19. Ancient and modern: the conservation of ancient woods and trees in a changing world / Keith Kirby
20. Walls, woodbanks and woodwards: the protection of coppice woods from trespassers, thieves and grazing animals / Melvyn Jones
21. The natural character of ancient woodland / Tom Williamson
22. European woodland history and management: some concluding thoughts / Ian D. Rotherham, Alper Çolak and Simay Kirca
Ian D. Rotherham is Emeritus Professor at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. He is an authority on landscape history and particularly on the history, heritage and ecology of woodlands and peatlands. He has published widely, including over 500 academic research papers, around 50 books and many hundreds of popular articles.
Alper H. Çolak is a Professor in the Department of Silviculture of Istanbul University - Cerrahpaşa, Faculty of Forestry. He has many years of experience with close-to-nature silviculture, high mountain forestry practices, species and habitat conservation and restoration and rehabilitation of forest landscapes.
Simay Kirca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Planning and Design of Istanbul University - Cerrahpaşa, Faculty of Forestry. She is currently developing landscape planning approaches for conservation and identifying vulnerable ecosystems, while integrating the functions and values of traditional cultural landscapes into the planning process.
"This is a masterly collection of essays on woodland history. All the leading authorities are here, and they cover the ecological history not only of England but also of Germany, Austria, Denmark and Turkey. Very strongly recommended."
– Christopher Smout, Historiographer Royal in Scotland