Ancient trees provide habitat for a huge array of other
organisms. The special features of ancient trees which make them unique as
wildlife habitat are the exceptionally species-rich communities associated
with: Wood decay, the bare surfaces of the trunk and boughs and the roots.
For more information about the
organisms below, click on the images
Click on the picture above to enlarge
Ancient trees & wildlife
The larger the concentration of old trees in an area and the longer
they have been present on site the richer the variety of species you will
find among them.
Many of our rarest species associated with ancient trees only occur where
there has been a continuous cover of old trees back through time on the
The older the tree the better the quality of wildlife associated with it
over its lifespan but it is vital to have a good age structure of young to
ancient trees on any site to maintain this wealth of wildlife.
There are literally thousands of species which depend on these features, and
- because of the general scarcity of ancient trees in the countryside - a
very high proportion of these species feature in lists of Red Data and
Nationally Scarce species, ie our rarest and most threatened species. This
is true right across Europe, not just in Britain. Indeed, in Britain we have
a special responsibility as we not only have more ancient trees than most
other European countries but also larger and more widespread populations of
some of the special species.
The types of species are predominantly small and rather obscure -fungi,
beetles, flies, lichens, and mosses, but also include cavity nesting and
roosting species such as woodpeckers, owls and bats which are some of our
most charismatic species of day and night.
Which trees are the most valuable to wildlife? Are tree and shrub species
not native to Britain of any value for wildlife?These are two common and
fundamental questions, but neither has been satisfactorily answered. The
natural history and nature conservation literature is full of partial
attempts, some well informed, some less so.
Amphibians and reptiles