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Action Needed To Save Woodland Wildflowers 24th August 2005


Primroses © Paul Lacey - English NatureAction is needed to help reverse the decline of many of Britain’s best-loved woodland flowers, including the primrose, the nation’s most extensive ecological woodland survey has found.

The recently published study, Long term ecological change in British woodland (1971-2001), found that the number of plant species in 1648 specific plots in 103 native woods across England, Wales, and Scotland had declined by more than a third since they were first surveyed 1971. Characteristic woodland plants like yellow archangel and sanicle fared worst, with 56 out of 72 Ancient Woodland Indicator species becoming significantly less common.

The work was carried out by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology on behalf of a variety of government funders and co-ordinated by Simon Smart who is based at our Lancaster research site.

Hard Fern, © Paul Lacey - English NatureSimon commented "This study builds on the important and unique legacy of long-term environmental monitoring data held within the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. The survey methods developed in the early 1970s for this woodland work were also the foundation for the UK wide Countryside Survey which now takes place roughly every 10 years."


Additional Information

  • DEFRA Press release
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