Native woodlands to be restored


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Hundreds of thousands of conifers and non-native trees are to be felled and replaced with native varieties like oak, ash and beech.

The new Government policy - Keepers of Time: A Statement of Policy for England's Ancient and Native Woodland - is a 20 year strategy to save ancient woodlands and create more wooded areas.

Lord Clark said woodlands were "jewels in the crown" and needed to be saved.

Ancient woodland only accounts for about a third of the 1.1 million hectares of total woodland across England, and only 15 per cent of it receives adequate protection.

The Woodland Trust, the woodland conservation charity, welcomed news of the programme but said more commitment was needed if woodlands were to be saved.

England's small and fragmented woodlands are vulnerable to climate change, pollution from agriculture, poor management and neglect, or loss to housing development.

Ancient woodlands that were converted to plantations in the last century will undergo a major programme of tree felling and thinning.

Native woods aid flood management and help regulate air and water quality. They also contain a wealth of historic features and important wildlife.

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