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New partnership will help to protect ancient woodlands from climate change

The RSPB is working with a consultancy firm to mitigate the impact of climate change in the ancient Blean Woods Nature Reserve. 

Woodlands across the south of England were once highly biodiverse and dynamic, however, the impact of climate change and heavier rainfall and dry summers has meant that many woodlands are now drying out.

To help combat this, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has secured £1.9m worth of funding for a major landscape restoration project.

As part of the project, the consultancy firm Ecological Planning and Research (EPR) will use tools to map the topography of the area, helping to predict where water will flow.

This will help to inform a dam placement strategy which will hopefully help to slow down water movement throughout the Blean Woods reserves, thereby mitigating the effects of changing rainfall patterns and preventing areas of woodland from drying out.

The survey work will be conducted in Spring and Summer 2021, with the dams being constructed later in the year.

Dave Smith, eastern region director and principal ecological consultant at EPR said: ‘It is critical to ensure important sites such as Blean Woods can act as a refuge for wildlife while providing a space that local communities can explore and use to learn about the natural environment.

‘Healthy woodland spaces are essential for our mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as for the wildlife that directly rely on them for sustenance and shelter.

‘We are proud to be working with the RSPB to address the related challenges of climate change and biodiversity reduction. We hope that similar interventions can be rolled out across the country to revitalise these critical, ancient habitats and protect the species that are under threat.’

Julian Nash, North Kent Reserves site manager, RSPB, added: ‘Blean Woods is one of the most popular nature reserves in Kent, and as an Ancient Woodland and Site of Special Scientific Interest it represents both precious heritage and a crucial educational resource.

‘Our work with EPR to rewet the site will ensure future generations can develop a connection to nature in a healthy, biodiverse environment.’

Photo Credit – Blean Woods

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