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More Chilterns 'rainforest' discovered

Friday 10 August 2012

More Chilterns 'rainforest' discovered

The Chilterns is famed for its woodlands and a new survey has revealed that there is more ancient woodland here than previously thought.

Ancient woodland is one of England's greatest natural treasures as it has existed for at least 400 years and is rich in wildlife. A new survey commissioned by the Chilterns Conservation Board, Forestry Commission and Natural England has identified that over 11,000 hectares of woodlands in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are ancient. This is 12% more than that found in a survey 20 years ago.

Steve Rodrick, Chief Officer of the Conservation Board, said:

"Ancient woodland is our equivalent of the tropical rainforest. It is rich in plants, butterflies and other wildlife and is truly irreplaceable. Once lost it is gone forever. This is why it is so important we know where all the ancient woods in the Chilterns are."

John Morris, Director of the Chiltern Woodlands Project, visited many of the woods to do the surveying:

"Despite the importance of ancient woodland surprisingly little of it is legally protected. This survey will help to make sure woods get the right management and are protected from being damaged or developed."

You can download the survey report which contains detailed results and maps of ancient woodland across the Chilterns.

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