The New Forest is one of the most important areas for wildlife in the UK, being home to large numbers of flowering plants, bryophytes, lichens, fungi, bats, birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. These species are associated with extensive areas of semi-natural habitats, which occur in a complex mosaic that is now rarely encountered in western Europe. The unique character of the New Forest is largely attributable to its long history of grazing by large herbivores, reflecting its origins as a medieval hunting forest and the survival of a traditional commoning system. The importance of the New Forest, to both wildlife and people, is reflected in its recent designation as a National Park.
This book provides an overview of biodiversity in the New Forest, by summarising what is currently known about its characteristic species and the habitats with which they are associated. Information is presented on current trends in the status and distribution different group of organisms, focusing on those of particular conservation importance. Information is also provided on the condition of differrent habitats, with the aim of informing future management decisions and identifying particular issues of concern.
This book provides a unique complilation of exisiting knowledge about the New Forest, provided by a range of specialists with a deep understanding of the area. This information is provided to help ensure that the special character of the New Forest, and its exceptional value for wildlife, is maintained in the future.