Students celebrate ten years of restoring oak woodlands
Leeds students have been working with the Forestry Commission to restore a plantation forest in the Lake District to natural woodland for ten years.
2016 marks the tenth year of efforts by Leeds students in collaboration with the Forestry Commission to restore Hardknott Forest in the Lake District's Duddon Valley, from a conifer plantation into native oak and birch woodland. The new native woodlands, bogs and moor will be a haven for wildlife and will offer great new opportunities for walking and recreation.
Dr Dominick Spracklen (Earth and Environment), who initiated and leads the University's involvement in the project, said: "Over the last 10 years, students from Leeds have joined students from University of Cumbria, Leeds City College and Scotland's Rural College as well as volunteers from the Forestry Commission, John Muir Trust, Lake District National Park and National Trust. This gives our students the opportunity to meet other students from across the country as well as the experience of working with a range of conservation and countryside management organisations. When it comes to finding a job, this experience can often be crucial."
Work has included removing non-native conifers, planting native tree species, dry stone walling, creating public rights of way, building board walks and removing deer fences. Dr Spracklen said: "Our students have been helping to restore a large area of Atlantic Oak Woodland in Cumbria's Lake District. These woodlands are recognised as Britain's rain forests, but have suffered centuries of clearance, overgrazing and conversion into plantation forestry. Students have helped with tree planting and removing non-native trees, helping to create what will become one of the largest Atlantic oak woodlands in England."
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