This report contains summaries of studies that consider the impact of woodland grant schemes on the nature conservation values of ancient woodland within Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). On most sites, work carried out was consistent with enhancement of the nature conservation value of the site. However, in a significant proportion of cases management issues causing concern included inadequate deer control; to high felling and restocking rates relative to the size of the woods and the amount of woodland in the landscape; insufficient retention of dead wood and old trees; ride/track creation and maintenance; game management. These issues also applied in ancient woods outside SSSIs. Administrative/organisational issues causing concern were: inadequate long-term plans; unclear and inappropriate objectives; insufficient or ineffective consultation between English Nature and Forestry Authority staff; proposals being viewed in isolation rather than in the context of the surrounding woodland resource; inadequate knowledge of the long-term effects of some practices (eg scale of felling); difficulties in analysing the impact of forestry work that arise from the way that Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS) and SSSI data are held. Measures to remedy the shortcomings identified were put in place and included: increased staff training; more frequent liaison; review of WGS consultation procedures; integration of English Nature Site Management Statements with the WGS application; joint support for deer management groups; development of improved monitoring procedures.
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