The United Nations has proclaimed 2011 as the International Year of Forests. It has invited governments, organisations and individuals to come together to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. Together with the Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre (WSBRC) we will be running a series of surveys to record the wildlife found in Wiltshire's woodlands, as the more we know about them, the better we can protect them.
We will be displaying information about woodland walks and activities being held throughout the year here, so please get in touch if you'd like us to help publicise your event. In the meantime - get recording! Tell us about the wildlife that you've seen in the woodlands near you, by going to the WSBRC's website and reporting your sightings. We've also created some new woodland wildlife ID guides especially for the International Year of Forests, which you can download from the WSBRC website, and use to help you discover the wealth of wildlife that can be found in Wiltshire's woodlands.
This year's event was held at Devizes Town Hall on 18th November. The presentations and proceedings from the event are available below.
Presentations were made by:
Jon Taylor, Principal Ecologist at Wiltshire Council, on the changing political climate. Click here to download (1mb) >
Gary Mantle, Director of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on the wider Wiltshire context. Click here to download (2mb) >
Naomi Brookes, South West Biodiversity Coordinator for Biodiversity South West on developments regionally and nationally. Click here to download (7.5mb)>
Sarah Wilkinson, Biodiversity Action Plan Officer at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, on the way forward for the Wiltshire BAP. Click here to download (0.5mb)>
Chalk grassland restoration plans are making great progress in Wiltshire with chalk wildflowers nodding in every direction at the RSPB’s Winterbourne Down reserve. A further 26 ha of arable fields were sown with a chalk grassland and wildflower mix this autumn. This brings the total to 132 ha of arable land being reverted to chalk grassland at this site, which will provide a colourful panorama of new wildlife rich downland.
The small number of junipers here have been given a few helping hands as a band of volunteers braved the lashing rain, buoyed up by tea and cakes, to clear scrub from around the nine bushes and plant out seeds and berries collected from the lone female bush. The main area of planting has been protected from rabbits and livestock by one of Plantlife’s juniper cages. We were delighted to find that previous scrub clearance in this area has helped create the conditions for the reappearance of this priority BAP species. The critically endangered red hemp-nettle, Galeopsis angustifolia, has been discovered growing on the bare ground created for the junipers. At RSPB’s Normanton Down reserve the protection of the barrows has retained small pockets of ancient chalk grassland in an otherwise arable landscape. 42 ha hectares of surrounding fields have since been reverted to grassland. We are now pleased to report that chalk plants from the barrows, such as dropwort and fairy flax, are starting to spread into the surrounding fields.