A special edition of Landscape Connections will combine our inaugural Bunce Lecture, a panel discussion, and our Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Wednesday 9th November, 15:30 – 17:30 GMT
Inaugural Bunce Lecture
Keith Kirby (University of Oxford) will deliver our first Bunce Lecture, in honour of the late Bob Bunce, a founding member of ialeUK.
What does woodland conservation and restoration mean in the 21st century?
The past is a foreign country: they did things differently then. In the late 1970s the concept of ancient woodland was just becoming widely accepted in the conservation world. It was generally thought many of these sites showed continuity of woodland cover back to the ‘wildwood’, which would have been largely dense closed-canopy forest; and that we should be aiming to restore traditional management (largely as coppice) over much of the area to maintain the associated wildlife. Climate change was not generally considered at all; deer were a relatively limited issue through much of England and Wales; the main pollutant concern was acid rain. Fast forward 50 years: ancient woodland has become part of public discourse, but our early assumptions about its distinctiveness have proved too simplistic; our ideas about the pre-Neolithic landscape and its tree cover have been challenged by the likes of Frans Vera; large scale restoration of coppicing has proved elusive, partly because of the increasing deer population; and rewilding philosophy is taking making us question whether we should be relying so much on management interventions anyway, particularly because we are irreversibly changing the environment for many of our woods through increased nitrogen deposition and climate change. So what does this mean for future woodland composition and structure: where should we be still trying to resist change, where accept it, where try to direct it down new desired paths?
A panel of speakers representing different specialisms and UK regions will reflect on the lecture in relation to landscape ecology developments, before opening for audience discussion.