British Woodlands More Homogenous than in Past

British woodlands are more similar to one another today than 70-years ago, report researchers today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

A team of scientists from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, led by Sally Keith at the University of Bournemouth, surveyed 86 sites in Dorset, comparing the plant species found against records of plant species found in the 1930s. The results show that the woodlands are more homogenous than in the past. The researchers conclude that changes in traditional methods of woodland management, for example a reduction in coppicing, has had an impact; reducing the light to the woodland floor and affecting plant growth.

Commenting on the research, Sally Keith says: “The results show that we must monitor biodiversity at the landscape scale, as well as gain a better understanding of processes affecting our native flora, if we are to conserve and restore the character of the traditional British woodland.”