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A Long-term Study of Lady Park Wood
By: George Peterken, Independent Researcher, UK, Edward Mountford, Independent Advisor, UK
August 2017 | Hardback | 302 Pages | 9781780648651
August 2017 | Paperback | 302 Pages | 9781786392817
August 2017 | ePDF 9781780648668 | ePub 9781780648675
£97.99 | €128.95 | $165.00
£35.00 | €45.00 | $60.00
DescriptionIn 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.
Table of contents
- 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
ReadershipThe book will be of great interest to forest ecologists and conservationists, and all naturalists interested in woodlands.
"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 - Jeff Wright
The whole work is lavishly illustrated with colour photographs, several of which feature groups of students or members of professional bodies being taught, which is an added dimension to the importance of conserving such sites. George Peterken is undoubtedly the most experienced and respected native woodland ecologist in the UK today, and along with Edward Mountford in the last three chapters (pp. 239-262) they consider natural woodland in theory and practice, provide first an overview of the concept of natural woodland then "near-to-nature" forestry, and finally a discussion of the topical matter of rewilding, remoteness and wilderness that include much to consider and debate. The authors are very aware that this is just one site, and that even within it development could have progressed in different ways. Anyone responsible for the long-term management of deciduous woodland should make sure they see this study, which is surely destined to become regarded as a classic in woodland ecology, not just to see wha t was found out here, but how to record the responses of trees over time. Biodiversity and Conservation, December 2018 - David L. Hawksworth
This book documents changes in tree composition and floral and faunal components and characters. It is well illustrated with images, graphs, and drawings and shows what can happen over 7 decades if natural processes are left to work freely. Changes in the forest were triggered by competition, herbivory, pathogens, storms, and other natural disturbances. The book demonstrates clearly and helps understanding of why, how, and to what extent a natural woodland differs from a managed forest. The essential message is clear for woodland conservation: "The single trees may die, but the forest lives forever," if we allow it to do so. The book also has helpful content, from a forestry practice perspective, on how to enhance species richness and structural diversity in forest stands and how to approach continuous-cover forestry in practice. These things are essential tools for decreasing biotic and abiotic risks related to climate change. This is why this is an important and useful work for foresters, ecologists, and conservationists. - Gabor L Lovei
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.
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.
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