Lottery funding to preserve Atlantic woodlands and their lichens

A new project led by conservation charity Plantlife to protect ancient trees and coastal woodlands in South-west England has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) development funding of £82,500.

Image: Emma Elf (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Emma Elf (CC BY 2.0)

The award will help Plantlife progress its plans to apply for a full grant next year, enabling it to carry out essential woodland conservation work focussing on rare and threatened lower plants such as lichens, mosses and liverworts.

It aims to enable both woodland managers and the public to learn more about these plants and so manage woods better, to carry out essential woodland conservation work and to provide educational woodland events.

"Fostering public engagement is at the heart of the programme, which includes citizen science opportunities, a schools future scientists programme, and specialist training to enhance the volunteer skills base and community outreach," Plantlife said.

It will partner with the National Trust, Exmoor National Park, Dartmoor National Park, the Quantock Hills AONB, Cornwall AONB, Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, British Lichen Society, Woodland Trust, and Natural England and hopes to work with other partners in the area.

It's development manager for the Building Resilience Project Rachel Jones said: "Sadly these Atlantic woodlands, one of Britain and Ireland’s most important habitats and home to a vast diversity of plant life, are increasingly threatened.

"We are thrilled to receive support from the National Lottery so we are able to make plans for this crucial conservation work."

The conservation focus will be on the three classic Atlantic woodland lichen communities, named Lobarion, Parmelion and Graphidion.

Plantlife's lower plants champion Dave Lamacraft said: "These lichen species are indicative of sites with a long ecological continuity so in many cases they are our closest links to the 'wild wood'. While some of these species are increasingly challenged by climate change and air pollution they have benefitted from centuries of stable conditions such as continuity of tree cover."

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