Osprey in flight

Sustain landscapes rich in wildlife

Each tree is a world within itself, teeming with life. A fallen branch is a feast for beetles, fungal-rich woodland soil is a wildflower bed. A hedgerow is a living network, where a host of creatures share their home. Forests are full of opportunities for people, but their natural wealth is the wildlife. Our future good means thinking in the round, adapting plans to what is on the ground. New urban and transport projects should make routes for our native wildlife to move forward too. Take heed of nature’s needs.


  1. Understand and protect the role of trees in supporting wildlife
    All trees and woodland habitats play a vital role in sustaining other species, and their role in the local ecosystem should be studied and recorded locally to inform management and planning decisions and ensure the wellbeing of wildlife that depends on them. The unique characteristics of a landscape’s trees and woods that enable them to support a wider ecological network should be recognised and protected through local planning and with government support for management of green spaces.

  2. Strengthen important habitats with trees and woods
    Ancient woodland and other especially important woodland habitats should be buffered and connected with new trees and hedges wherever possible to improve chances for resident species. Connectivity should be at the heart of landscape management plans.

  3. Create transport networks for wildlife as well as people
    Canals, railways, roads and cycle ways lined with trees and hedges can provide vital wildlife corridors, habitats and links between woods across the wider landscape. Design, planting and maintenance decisions by all tiers of government should maximise the important role these routes can play in connecting ecological networks.

  4. Sustain precious and vulnerable habitats with trees
    Many native species depend on rare or irreplaceable habitats such as ancient woodland and wood-pasture, and on traditional management techniques such as coppicing that open the canopy of woodland to allow light to nurture life on the floor. Such important, irreplaceable habitats should be given statutory protection, and traditional management techniques should be encouraged and rewarded by government where they help sustain biodiversity. In preparing management plans, woodland custodians should consider how they sustain not only the health of the woodland but of all its inhabitants.

  5. Farm the land to provide for wildlife as well as people
    Trees and woodland can benefit agriculture in many ways, and opportunities to create and protect woodland habitats and networks of trees and hedges on farms should be maximised. Farming practices such as agroforestry that allow healthy woods and trees to deliver for wildlife should be encouraged and rewarded, and regulations should be enforced where farming practices damage or destroy woodland habitats.

  6. Allow the natural cycle of life in woods
    Deadwood enriches the local ecosystem by providing habitat and food for many species. Ancient, veteran and dead standing trees, and deadwood from fallen or damaged trees, should be conserved in woodland and parks wherever it is safe to do so.

  7. Be respectful neighbours to our wildlife
    The wellbeing and survival of all species dependent on trees, woods and hedges should be protected through the creation, communication and enforcement of wildlife law. Leisure activities and business enterprises in woodland or affecting trees should be sensitive to the wellbeing of wildlife and habitats in consideration of any noise, light and physical impact.

  8. Let nature do what it does best
    Self-seeded trees will be from trees already thriving in the environment, and will represent the species mix on which the resident species depend. Allow natural regeneration to restock and buffer woodland wherever practical for maximum benefit to existing plants and animals, controlling invasive species that limit or destroy the natural ecosystem where necessary.

  • Making Space for Nature
    Defra’s Making Space for Nature report looked into wildlife sites and their resilience in the face of the growing challenges of climate change.
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  • The State of Nature
    Over 50 organisations contribute annually to the RSPB’s State of Nature report, which monitors how the UK's wildlife is faring.
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  • Trees for Nature
    This Forestry Commission research note looked at valuing the social and environmental contribution of woodlands and trees in England, Scotland and Wales.
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