Lowland heath habitats are rarer than rainforest habitats, and the HLS scheme has been helping to restore these important areas in the New Forest.
The heathland is home to many creatures and plants which have long since disappeared from the rest of England. The New Forest is a stronghold for birds such as snipe, curlew and stonechat, as well as rare butterflies and damselflies, and home to all six of the UK’s native reptile species.
Open habitat restoration
HLS work includes removing some of the non-native conifer trees and naturally regenerating birch and scrub from lowland heath. This allows these areas to return to heathland to support some of the Forest’s rarest wildlife, encourage a wider range of plantlife, and improve grazing for Forest ponies and cattle.
The HLS is also helping to restore open habitats after conifer plantations have been felled in the Verderers’ inclosures. This includes removing the ridges, furrows and stumps left behind from forestry plantations.
As well as making it easier to carry out any future habitat management, the work improves areas for stock access and rounding up the animals