Please note that WN responses to consultations can be read here

State Of Britain's Mammals Report For 2006

Dartmoor high moorland vision 2030

Wild Ennerdale Stewardship Plan

Large Herbivores in Upland Britain


ECOS - Quarterly Journal of BANC

English Nature Research Reports

Land Use Policy Group

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Woodland Trust


IUCN - World Conservation Movement  NEW

Contributions and suggestions are welcome.


Produced by the by Mammals Trust UK, this report covers many species and topics, including mammal diseases; free-ranging deer in Britain; the Animal Welfare Bill;  and a UK BAP update. It contains lengthy features on three areas not covered in the UK BAP:

  • the impact of otters on mink;

  • reintroducing extinct mammals - examining the possibilities of reintroducing formerly native wild boar, Eurasian beavers and Eurasian lynx to Britain;

  • UK harbour seal populations

The report can be downloaded from the from Wildlife Conservation Research Unit's website (1.8Mb PDF)


The Vision for moorland Dartmoor looks forward to the year 2030, and is the result of collaboration between farmers, commoners and statutory agencies.  This alliance has articulated a single, clear vision which all these organisations will use as a framework for action required on the ground to manage the Dartmoor landscape.

The Vision is of an open landscape containing a mosaic of different types of vegetation and habitats, with archaeological features protected, vegetation cover managed by the grazing of livestock and Dartmoor’s core of blanket bog managed to ensure it is robust against climate change, thereby protecting natural resources such as water quality and quantity.

The Vision identifies areas of blanket bog, heather moorland, western heath, mires, naturally regenerated woodland, the ice age geological landscape of Merrivale and 14 Premier Archaeological Landscapes (PALs - areas identified to be the best and most important archaeological landscapes on Dartmoor). The Vision thus shows where it is important to retain mixed livestock and target 'intervention management'. By implication, areas outside PALs have the potential to be managed to favour 'natural processes'.

A summary of the Vision can be read here.

A copy of the moorland vision map can be viewed as an interactive map on the National Park website. It shows the distribution and extent of desired habitats, together with more detailed information on the 14 PALs. The map can be used to zoom in to specific locations of interest, and can be searched for a particular location by entering the nearest settlement name or a postcode.


The stewardship plan is a culmination of five years of discussions, illustrating (through maps, text and photographs) how the partners propose to allow Ennerdale to evolve as a 'wild' valley. This is not a typical 'management plan' with prescriptive targets and deadlines. As emphasis is on moving away from 'management' in the traditional, 'controlling' sense, this plan demonstrates the broader concepts for change in Ennerdale.

Any boundaries on maps are indicative of what could happen, not what will, as nature is unpredictable. The plan will be regularly reviewed and updated as the development process unfolds.

The plan describes the process by which the Partnership developed Wild Ennerdale to where it finds itself today. This process is characterised by three main stages:

1) Understanding Ennerdale

2) Developing a vision

3) Implementing the vision

The photo survey principally reflects the first two stages in the process whilst the maps and text describe the full process. Each section of the Stewardship Plan is viewed as a ‘stand alone’ document. Here is the summary for Natural Processes:

Vegetation succession, river dynamics, weathering of rocks, soil erosion and woodland regeneration are some examples of natural processes which shape the character and quality of Ennerdale, and which are influenced to varying degrees by human activity. Ennerdale has gone through a series of changes which have been influenced by man to meet the economic needs of the day, such as the planting of spruce forests and raising the level of the lake for water extraction. It is often the scale and nature of human processes (particularly when involving machinery) which results in our management dominating natural processes. By lessening the impact of human activity to become more in tune with natural processes, there comes a point whereby perceptions can change and human activity becomes more accepted as a natural process, to a point where it becomes complementary and part of the natural environment of the valley.

The Plan is provided in a number of formats and can be found at:


What does the science of herbivore ecology tell us?

Report of a seminar at Battleby, Perth, Scotland, 16 February 2005, co-ordinated by The National Trust for Scotland with support from Scottish Natural Heritage.

We have now received a full write -up of this conference, after having initially received the paper that David Bullock gave, entitled Large herbivores in upland Britain: what can the past tell us about the future?

Other contributors included:

Frans Vera on the effects of large herbivores on vegetation dynamics in temperate Europe; Keith Kirby asking Was the wildwood closed forest or savannah – does it matter?; and Jos Milner talking about deer numbers in relation to carrying capacity:

The afternoon session had discussions on:
What is meant by ‘damage to the natural heritage’ in the uplands?
What is meant by ‘maintenance of good agricultural & environmental condition’ in the uplands?

The full conference write-up can be read here (PDF 285kb)

David also offers some guidelines for restoration of large mammal communities as part of a rewilding, and makes a plea to use science rather than make an arbitrary selection of animals from the pre and post glacial.

"The science tells us: bison did not get back after the ice melted, horse may have persisted for a few thousand years at most  post-glacially, but was ecologically unimportant by the Atlantic period, and that neither the horse nor the wild ox got to Ireland post-glacially. I judge that red deer was probably introduced to Ireland and the wolves there were eating mesopredators such as foxes, badgers and otters, and wild boar. In restoring ecosystems using large mammals, I personally would look for solid baselines of what was present in the Atlantic chromozone some 6,500 years BP. Not much in Ireland (bear, wolf  and no large herbivores), and of the large herbivores in Britain there were only three deer species and wild ox plus bear, wolf, lynx."


Mountains of Northern Europe: conservation, management, people and nature: The natural heritage of Scotland 13

Price: £30.00, ISBN: 0114973199

This publication contains the proceedings of an international conference, held in Pitlochry, Scotland in November 2002, to mark the UN International Year of Mountains 2002. The conference participants discussed the state of current knowledge about the mountains of Northern Europe and considered issues arising from the interactions between people and nature, and the conservation and sustainable development activities needed to benefit the natural heritage of mountain regions in the UK, Norway and Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

ECOS - THE QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH Association of Nature Conservationists

ECOS is published by the British Association of Nature Conservationists (BANC). The index of journal issues posted on the BANC website can be found at:

For those issues not posted, back copies are available at £4 from BANC membership services, Lings House, Billing Lings, Northampton NN3 8BE Tel: 01604 405285.

A taste of the wild...

ECOS Vol 25 issue 1, 2004

Articles by Fenton, Fisher, Taylor and Kirby discussed wildland, and definitions and principles of management, particularly naturalness and grazing regimes.

Conservation weighed down?

ECOS Vol 25 issue 2, 2004

Peter Rhind argues that the creation of near-natural habitats should be one of the top priorities in conservation.

Wilder landscapes, wilder lives

ECOS Vol 25 issue 3/4, 2004

An issue of ECOS dedicated to articles on wild land. Edited by Peter Taylor & Rick Minter, it provides an overview of re-wilding projects in Britain, with also information on the experience of re-introductions of extinct species in other European countries.


English Nature produce a range of specialist research reports, a number of which make interesting reading for wildland enthusiasts. Most of the Research Reports can be downloaded as PDF, but you can order a free printed copy from the online enquiry service

Here are a few titles in order of publication:

Long term ecological change in British woodland (1971-2001)
A re-survey and analysis of change based on the 103 sites in the Nature Conservancy ‘Bunce 1971’ woodland survey

Research Report No 653, 2005

This report describes the results of a resurvey of 103 woods that were first looked at in 1971. The woods are spread across Britain and from the results we have been able to identify some of the ways in which woods have responded to potential drivers of change. We suggest some likely consequences of future changes. The data will be made available for further analyses.

Large herbivores in the wildwood and in modern naturalistic grazing systems

Research Report No 648, 2005

This report stems from work commissioned by English Nature into the role of large herbivores in the post-glacial landscape of Britain and the potential for using free-ranging grazing animals to create and maintain diverse landscape mosaics in modern conditions

What might a British forest-landscape driven by large herbivores look like?

Research Report No 530, 2003

The generally accepted view of the natural forests that once covered Britain has been of largely closed-canopy woodland, with many mature trees and regeneration in gaps created by the death or destruction of small groups of trees or occasional catastrophic blow-downs. An alternative view has recently been promoted (Vera, 2000) in which large herbivores grazed open areas that eventually went through scrub and woodland phases before breaking down to form open areas again. This report explores what the structure of the wildwood might have been like, using Vera's hypothesis as a starting point for a simple landscape model. The model illustrates that a number of different landscape outcomes are possible within the framework of the Vera hypothesis. This has implications for how data from pollen or invertebrate remains are interpreted, but also for attempts to apply Vera's ideas to modern conservation management.

Natural reserves in English woodlands

Research Report No 384, 2000

The Habitat Action Plans for broadleaved woodland propose that a series of minimum intervention sites be established across the ecological and geographic range of UK woods. This report explores in detail the rationale for such a series.


A provisional minimum intervention woodland reserve series for England with proposals for baseline recording and long- term monitoring therein

Research Report No 385, 2000

The companion report to N0 384, it develops a provisional list of sites where minimum intervention woodland reserves may be established.

Developing new native woodland in the English uplands

Research Report No 230


The Land Use Policy Group (LUPG) comprises the statutory British conservation, countryside and environment agencies. The LUPG aims to advise on policy matters of common concern related to agriculture, woodlands and other rural land uses. Publications can be downloaded as PDF from the LUPG website

New Wildwoods: Removing barriers to development and implementation

LUPG, April 2003

The report provides a series of recommendations to the Woodland Policy Group, one of two sub-groups of the Land Use Policy Group, on actions that will facilitate the development and implementation of New Wildwoods projects, particularly focussing on England and Wales.

The two main aspects of the report are:
i) Exploring the barriers to moving from concept towards implementation of New Wildwoods, through assessment of the policy and incentive mechanisms necessary to facilitate project initiation, and
ii) Investigating the options for establishing an information network for New Wildwoods and similar ‘wildland’ projects.

New Wildwoods in Britain: The potential for developing new landscape-scale native woodlands

LUPG, June 2002

This report explores the potential for establishing extensive areas of native forest in those parts of upland Britain currently most lacking in native woodland cover. It evaluates the potential of native woodlands and forests to contribute to both integrated rural development and conservation.

The term ‘New Wildwoods’ is used to indicate areas of extensive woodland of predominantly native species in which management inputs are minimised and where benefits are largely environmental. This project involves a study of the reasons for and implications of the trend towards greater use of native species in woodland creation schemes in the UK. It explores the incentives of the various stakeholders in woodland creation and the consequent opportunities and constraints with respect to agriculture, nature conservation policy, forestry policy & the timber industry, carbon sequestration, soil & water conservation, ecological factors, landscape & cultural heritage, recreation & tourism, rural development and community participation. Strategies for the creation of Wildwoods are examined, including an analysis of past and current woodland creation schemes and the role of the LUPG agencies in promoting native woodland creation and appropriate policy recommendations.


The JNCC is the UK Government's wildlife adviser, undertaking national and international conservation work on behalf of the three country nature conservation agencies English Nature, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Countryside Council for Wales. The JNCC publishes reports arising from its scientific work on a wide range of topics under the series title JNCC Reports. These can be downloaded from

National Vegetation Classification: Field guide to woodland

JNCC, 2004

The NVC woodland classification is based on 2,648 samples from ancient and recent woods throughout Britain. There are 18 main woodland types and seven scrubs or underscrubs, most of which are divided further to give a total of 73 sub-communities. he NVC breaks down woodland into communities, designated by a number and name (e.g. W8 Fraxinus excelsior – Acer campestre – Mercurialis perennis woodland). Many (but not all) of these communities contain several sub-communities, designated by a letter (e.g. W8a Fraxinus excelsior – Acer campestre – Mercurialis perennis woodland Primula vulgaris – Glechoma hederacea sub-community).

The nature conservation value of scrub in Britain

JNCC Report 308, 2000

This report represents a synthesis of the existing knowledge of scrub ecology and conservation, and identifies priorities for future conservation and research. This information has been accessed through published and unpublished literature, questionnaires, an expert workshop, and through consultation with national and international experts.


The Woodland Trust is a woodland conservation organisation that achieves its aims through a combination of acquiring woodland and sites for planting and through advocacy of the importance of protecting ancient woodland, enhancing its biodiversity, expanding native woodland cover and increasing public enjoyment of woodland. It has a range of downloadable publications at

Space for nature: Landscape-scale action for woodland biodiversity

Woodland Trust, April 2002

This document sets out the Woodland Trust’s thoughts on the development of landscape-scale action for woodland biodiversity. The Trust has developed an approach based on a number of widely held ecological principles and surrogate measures, which can be monitored over time. Its formulation highlighted the need for habitat creation to buffer and extend semi-natural habitats to increase their core area and thus their ecological resilience, rather than to simply link them. It also suggested that woodland biodiversity has greatest potential to be put on a more sustainable footing in areas where there is a high density of ancient woodland.

New woods for people: The Woodland Trust’s experience of woodland creation

Woodland Trust, November 2001

New woods for people summarises the work of the Woodland Trust in creating new native woods. It covers their experience, the theory behind the task and the practical lessons drawn from managing new woods and working closely with people.


WWF seek the establishment and maintenance of viable, representative networks of protected areas in the world's threatened and most biologically significant forest regions. Some of the reports they commission cover essential information gaps – hence their partners.

Deadwood - living forests

WWF, Oct 2004

The report reveals that a third of forest-dwelling species rely on dead or dying trees, logs, and branches for their survival. The removal of decaying timber and old trees from Europe's forests has led to a drastic decline in species relying on deadwood for food and/or shelter. These species make up the single biggest group of threatened species in Europe.

Are protected areas working? An analysis of forest protected areas by WWF

WWF, June 2004

WWF has surveyed management effectiveness in more than 200 forest protected areas in 37 countries - the widest sampling of countries yet undertaken of protected area effectiveness.

State of Europe's Forest Protection


The lack of protection for Europe's forests is alarming. Dramatic loss of biodiversity continues daily. Many countries in Europe have inadequate knowledge about how much and what forest types need to be protected in their countries in order to sustain biodiversity on national or European level.

Reversing the habitat fragmentation of British woodlands

George Peterken January 2002

This report is about habitat fragmentation, the damaging effects it has had on wildlife, and the measures that can mitigate its effects. It refers particularly to British woodland - the habitat that once covered the land, but which has been fragmented for millennia.

This report comprises four main parts. It:

  • describes forest fragmentation, the natural forest and woodland species;

  • assesses the impacts of fragmentation on woodland species;

  • considers how fragmentation might be reversed by building a forest habitat network;

  • asks "how well have we been doing?"

Development Threats to Ancient Woodlands

Land Use Consultants December 2001

This research, commissioned by WWF and the Woodland Trust, shows that the present system is inadequate to protect ancient woods against the relentless tide of development. The study is the first attempt to assess the real impact of built development on ancient woodland nationwide.

Protected Forest Areas in the UK

Simon N Pryer and George F Peterken January 2001

This report, commissioned jointly by the Forestry Commission and WWF, aims to analyse the potential implications for the UK of adopting WWF's international campaigning target - for countries to classify at least 10 per cent of their forests as protected areas.

IUCN - World Conservation Union

The World Conservation Union has a range of databases, assessments, guidelines and case studies, prepared by its global membership, Commissions and Secretariat.

Guidelines For Re-Introductions

Re-introduction Specialist Group, IUCN Species Survival Commission 1995

These guidelines are intended to act as a guide for procedures useful to re-introduction programmes and do not represent an inflexible code of conduct. Many of the points are more relevant to re-introductions using captive-bred individuals than to translocations of wild species. Others are especially relevant to globally endangered species with limited numbers of founders.

A PDF version of the Guidelines is available to download (251kb)

Guidelines for Protected Areas Management Categories

IUCN 1994

The purpose of these guidelines, therefore, is to establish greater understanding among all concerned about the different categories of protected areas. A central principle upon which the guidelines are based is that categories should be defined by the objectives of management, not by the title of the area nor by the effectiveness of management in meeting those objectives.