Woodland creation for wildlife and people in a changing climate

by David Blakesley and Peter Buckley

front cover of Woodlands have defined the landscapes of Britain since man’s first occupation. They continue to shape the lives of the inhabitants to this day, but their most significant role may yet be to come if David Blakesley and Peter Buckley are right.

This book focuses – as the title suggests – on the value of woodlands for people and wildlife, and to set it apart from the pack, in a changing climate. Although climate change is not a new phenomenon the rate at which we must adapt to the current and coming changes is almost certainly unprecedented. The role woodlands play in this adaptation forms the fundamental concept that unites the book through its two-parted, but smooth, journey from extensive background theory to the practical implication of planting woodlands.

Framing the usual discussions on ecological succession and wildlife benefits of new woodlands in the context of climate change will undoubtedly open up new audiences. But the thing that really sets this book apart from most are the discussions about people’s roles in modern day woodlands and discussing what woodlands are for - and how can we get the most out of them? If we can find the right answers to these questions then we will likely see a continued rise in tree cover, and good tree cover at that, in the UK (even against the background of the proposed sell-off of half the UK’s forests). Other issues explored in the book include the health and well-being benefits of woodlands, which are only just beginning to be understood and the significance of woodlands for recreation.

inside page from Woodland creation bookinside page from woodland creation book

There are many things this book does particularly well. It’s an absolute mine of information and it’s hard to imagine anything you’d want to know has been omitted. In fact when reading it it’s often hard to believe that so much has been crammed in to fewer than 200 pages. Everything is laid out clearly: extensive data sets float neatly alongside high quality photographs, maps, and detailed but uncomplicated text. All in all it’s a very high quality publication from the start – and the delightful foreword by Chris Packham - to the glossary and species-filled finish.

This book clearly represents many years of research and as Eden has worked alongside both authors in the past it’s a pleasure to see this work come to fruition in this way.

Available from NHBS.