Cookies on CABI Bookshop

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.


Continuing to use  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Search this site
Sign up for the CABI e-zine Newsletter
Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Woodland Development

Woodland Development

A Long-term Study of Lady Park Wood

By G Peterken, Independent Researcher, UK, E Mountford, Independent Advisor, UK

August 2017 / Hardback / 302 Pages / 9781780648651 £97.99 / €128.95 / $165.00
With 10% online discount: £88.19 / €116.06 / $148.50
Add to CartAdd to cart
August 2017 / Paperback / 302 Pages / 9781786392817 £35.00 / €45.00 / $60.00
With 10% online discount: £31.50 / €40.50 / $54.00
Add to CartAdd to cart

Main Description

In 1944 Lady Park Wood (45 hectares of woodland in Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, UK) was set aside indefinitely by the Forestry Commission so that ecologists could study how woodland develops naturally. Since then, in a unique long-term study, individual trees and shrubs have been recorded at intervals, accumulating a detailed record of more than 20,000 individual beech, sessile oak, ash, wych elm, small-leaved lime, large-leaved lime, birch, hazel, yew and other species.

In the seven decades since the study started, the wood has changed; trees grew, died and regenerated, and drought, disease and other events shaped its destiny. Each tree and shrub species reacted in its own way to changes in the wood as a whole and to changes in the fortunes of its neighbours. Meanwhile, the wild fauna, flora and fungi also responded, leaving the wood richer in some groups but poorer in others.

In this landmark book, beautifully illustrated throughout, George Peterken and Edward Mountford, summarise the ongoing results of the Lady Park Wood study, highlighting its unique place in nature conservation and its significance to ecology in general. It also builds on experience at Lady Park Wood and elsewhere to discuss in particular: the role and maintenance of long-term ecological studies; the concept and form of natural woodland; the role of minimum-intervention policies in woodland nature conservation; near-to-nature forestry; and the desirability and practicalities of re-wilding woodlands.


The book will be of great interest to forest ecologists and conservationists, and all naturalists interested in woodlands.

  • 1: Understanding Woodland
  • 2: Lady Park Wood and its History
  • 3: The Ecological Reserve
  • 4: Recording Trees and Expressing Change
  • 5: The Changing Woodland
  • 6: Ash: The Tree in the Spotlight
  • 7: Beech and Oak, the Major Forest Trees
  • 8: Limes and Wych Elm
  • 9: Birch and other Short-lived Canopy Trees
  • 10: Field Maple and Hazel, the other Coppice Species
  • 11: Minor Trees and Shrubs
  • 12: Habitats
  • 13: Species
  • 14: Long-term Ecological Studies
  • 15: Natural Woodland in Theory and Practice
  • 16: Near-to-Nature Forestry
  • 17: Rewilding, Remoteness and Wilderness
"This is a well written and illustrated book that will be invaluable to those interested in long term studies of natural forests in the temperate zone and to those that should have ambitions to establish similar areas in the tropics and sub-tropics." - Jeff Wright, DPhil, Society of American Foresters, March 2018

Mountford After completing an Honours Degree in Field Biology and Habitat Management, he was employed as a Nature Conservation Advisor covering the county of Shropshire. He then completed a PhD thesis through The Open University, studying natural woodland development across a series of woodland reserves, from the New Forest to the Scottish Highlands.
Post-doctoral research followed via two EU-funded projects, which included a four-year period focusing on the management of beech forests at a European-level. Topics addressed in detail included natural regeneration, natural stand development, dead wood, and woodland management and history.
Later he was employed as a UK-level Advisor by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, providing detailed advice to Government on habitat assessment, classification and designation, as well as other areas from the impact of air pollution to green infrastructure.
He now works independently, based in Lancashire, and retains his general interest in the history and conservation of the countryside at large.

Peterken After a Ph.D. at University College, London and a short appointment in Aberystwyth University, Dr Peterken was for two years co-ordinator of part of the International Biological Programme and then scientific officer in the Biological Records Centre. He was then appointed to the Nature Conservancy's woodland management section at Monks Wood in 1969, and remained a woodland ecologist with NC and successor bodies until 1992, spending much of his time as the senior woodland ecologist in the Chief Scientist's Team, where his work ranged from policy negotiations through research commissioning, personal research and lecturing to on-site management advice, in fact anything and everything that might advance woodland ecology and nature conservation. He took a sabbatical for 18 months in 1989-90 to study so-called virgin forests in mainland Europe and to hold a Bullard Fellowship at Harvard University.

In 1993, he went independent. For a decade he was part-time nature conservation advisor to the Forestry Commission, but was also involved in collaborative research projects, teaching, lecturing, writing and routine consultancy. Shortly after the Millennium he decided to spend his time mainly writing a New Naturalist volume and more recently a book on Meadows - meadows being a retirement hobby.
Long-term studies have been a theme of his research and research-commissioning since the 1970s, when he first became involved with Lady Park Wood, the subject of this book. Dr Peterken's interest in historical ecology dates from the 1960s.

  • Woodland Development
    Woodland Development
    by G Peterken; E Mountford August 2017 Hardback / 9781780648651 / £97.99 / $165.00 / €128.95