Woodland Trust launches Lost Woods of Low Weald and Downs project

PEOPLE have been urged to get involved in a “groundbreaking” £1.9million project to save lost forests.

Led by the Woodland Trust, the Lost Woods Of Low Weald And Downs project aims to breathe new life into 314 square kilometers of heavily fragmented and degraded woodland in Sussex by reconnecting people with their environment.

It is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and works in partnership with the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Action In Rural Sussex and the Small Woods Association.

Project leaders said the Lost Woods area, which stretches from Pulborough to the edge of Lewes, is dominated by agriculture and the remaining forests are often small and in poor condition, due to a range of problems including tree diseases , invasive species and management that does not prioritize the ecological benefits of trees and forests.

People were challenged to become “forest champions”.

They also said tree cover in the Low Weald area is just 14 per cent, compared to 22.8 per cent in the South Downs and 24.8 per cent in the High Weald area to the north.

During the development phase of the program over the past two years, team members have spoken to young people, communities and landowners to motivate and inspire them to protect these vital natural habitats with the goal of creating a new generation of woodruff.

The project will increase access to lost forests through events and volunteering and create a ‘forest culture’ in the region by providing education, skills and knowledge-building opportunities.

Training has begun for forest owners, managers and contractors on forest revitalization and restoration – presenting forest management methods, restoring biodiversity, expanding forest habitat and creating better forest connectivity in the landscape.

blankThe project is funded by the National Lottery

Jenny Scholfield, regional director of the Woodland Trust, said that in the Low Wealds nearly 60 per cent of the forests are currently unmanaged and there is no wildlife that is expected to be abundant in wild places.

“Forests have been an everyday part of people’s lives for centuries, for industry and recreation and while we have beautiful forests and trees in Sussex, today many forests are fragmented and neglected,” she said.

“Fragmented small forest areas are less resilient to the impacts of changing climate and other adverse factors, resulting in vulnerable wildlife habitats for local populations of wildlife species.

“We must act now to make forests safer for wildlife and to connect small forests into a larger, wilder landscape.”

Henri Brocklebank, Director of Conservation at Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: “The project’s focus on networks for nature and networks for people will bring new audiences to love these special places in Sussex.

“Our forests will be richer in wildlife and will perform such an important job for all of us – absorbing carbon, slowing the flow of water, providing places of rest and inspiration, and of course, harboring exquisite and fascinating plants and creatures.”

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/22957260.woodland-trust-launches-lost-woods-low-weald-downs-project/?ref=rss Woodland Trust launches Lost Woods of Low Weald and Downs project

Fry Electronics Team

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