Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Wood pasture

Wood pasture is a semi-cultural type of vegetation with a mosaic of alternating patches of open meadows and small copses of deciduous trees and shrubs.

The tree and shrub component may have been exploited in the past and can occur as scattered individuals, small groups, or as more or less complete canopy cover. Depending upon the degree of canopy cover other semi-natural habitats, including grassland, heath, scrub etc. may occur in mosaic with woodland communities.

The defining feature of ancient wood pasture is the presence of veteran trees often many centuries old. They can be very big and may show signs of having been cut back in the past. Veteran trees often host long- established communities of fungi, lichens and specialist insects and are also home to birds, bats and other wildlife.

Wood pasture is found in many European countries, though some are without ancient trees. It is a habitat that probably dates back to the original wildwood or to Neolithic livestock keepers. Wood-pasture is particularly important for the fungi, lichens, bryophytes and invertebrates associated with veteran trees and decaying timber. The fauna of dead wood (saproxylic species) is threatened throughout Europe and Britain is important for this fauna in a European context.
Wood pasture
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