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.
- The concept of ancient woods and woodlands in Turkey (Alper Çolak, Simay Kirca & Ian D. Rotherham)
- Tanneries and treescapes (Christine Handley)
- The diversity of ancient woodlands in Austria (Elizabeth Johann)
- The wood-pasture; for food, wood and biodiversity (Frans Vera)
- Ancient woodland in concept and practice (George Peterken)
- Ancient rights in ancient woodlands (Graham Bathe)
- The cultural heritage of woods and forests (Ian D. Rotheram)
- Mapping ancient and other trees of special interest (Jill Butler)
- Tree abundance, density and age structure (Keith Alexander)
- Ancient Forests in Germany (Monika Wulf)
- The key factors which determine species-richness in saproxylic invertebrates (Niklas Jansson, Ogün C. Türkay)
- Archaeology of trees, woodland, and wood-pasture (Oliver Rackham)
- The importance of an open grown tree (Ted Green)
- Old growth and dead wood as key factors for nature conservation in managed forests (Werner Konold, Thomas Kaphegyi, Rudolf Lühl, Nicole Schmalfuss, Mathias Rupp & Thomas Waldenspuhl)
- Using pollen data and models to asses landscape structure and the role of grazers in pre-agricultural Denmark (Anne Brigitte Nielsen)