Wood pasture is a historical European land management system where open woodland provided shelter and forage for grazing animals.
Today, it’s a relatively rare habitat, with ancient oak and beech trees in the New Forest supporting huge numbers of invertebrates and fungi, as well as bats and bird species such as lesser spotted woodpeckers, goshawks and warblers.
The HLS scheme is helping to restore pasture woodlands by removing conifer trees that are shading veteran trees, growing among young oak and beech trees, and colonising open areas. The restoration helps to protect veteran trees, gives new generations of trees enough room to grow and provides plenty of open space for a wide range of woodland species.
No other woods in the UK or continental Europe are as rich in lichens as the New Forest, and its range is internationally important. The HLS is also supporting work to benefit rare lichens that are being shaded by dense holly. Holly has been cut back at over 20 sites so far to let in more light for the lichens growing on nearby oak and beech trees.