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Managing the woodland at Cushendun

Ranger chain sawing a wind damaged ash tree at Fontmell and Melbury Downs, Dorset
Supporting habitats through woodland management | © National Trust Images/Clive Whitbourn

Woodlands provide a great diversity of habitats for plants and animals as well providing many other social, economic and environmental functions. Woodland management is essential for this to continue. Discover more about the woodland management programme for Glenmona woodland at Cushendun.

The importance of woodland management

Contrary to popular belief, most of the woodlands we know so well today have come about as a result of being managed, and the wildlife we have come to associate with this particular habitat will gradually disappear if this management doesn’t continue. The health and wellbeing of woodlands relies on effective management to maintain a diverse environment in relation to species diversity, age and structure.

Glenmona woodland

Glenmona woodland, like many types of woodland today, is relatively uniform in age and without intervention would struggle to achieve a healthy mixed aged structure, providing the wide array of functions that society has come to expect of them. Non-native species such as rhododendron also pose further issues, by forming dense thickets, overshadowing the diverse mix of plants in the understory, causing them to decline. Such invasive species also reduce the likelihood of natural regeneration as they choke out the new tree seedlings.

Woodland management techniques such as thinning, coppicing, scrub clearance and re-planting are therefore essential tools to all those involved in conservation woodland management.

Work at Glenmona

Over the last few years, through the winter months, the ranger team have been focusing on key areas which have become overrun with rhododendron and other scrub thickets alongside thinning of less favourable trees. We hope to see an increase in other species in the coming years due to the increase in light to these areas.

Ultimately through our continued sensitive management we aim to create woodland which is more resilient to future environmental changes. So that it can function as a healthy system which continues to sustain a wide variety of species to be enjoyed by future generations.

A red squirrel standing on a thick branch, facing the camera


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