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Title: The restoration of native woodland from plantations on ancient woodland sites
Author: Atkinson, Beth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 7093
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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Restoring plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) IS an important part of British forestry and conservation policy. Guidelines recommend the gradual removal of planted trees over clearfelling. However, this advice has not been thoroughly tested. My first study tests the assumptions that clearfelling is detrimental to woodland and shade tolerant plant species, and favours competitive species. I surveyed the ground flora of native woodlands, PAWS, clearfelled PAWS and PAWS plots where the planted trees are being gradually removed via regular thinning. Although clearfelled plots had a greater competitive-signature and more light demanding species in the ground flora, there were no differences in shade tolerant or woodland species richness between plot types. My second study investigated the leaf-miner communities. It is often assumed during restoration that as plant species richness increases the species richness of invertebrate herbivores will also increase. Whilst this was the case on PAWS plots undergoing gradual removal of planted trees it was not true on clearfelled plots. The two restoration methods therefore have different effects on the leaf-miner community. Finally I sampled Diptera and Coleoptera carrion and dung decomposers. The overall abundance of these decomposers did not differ between plot types. However, clearfelled plots had a smaller biomass of beetles and a lower abundance of the dominant, and functionally unique beetle, Anoplotrupes stercorosus. There may therefore be consequences of clearfelling for the function of decomposition. I conclude that it is essential to test restoration advice and to monitor a range of taxa, not just plants, throughout restoration. It is vital to do this when undertaking ecological restoration in order that informed management decisions can be made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available