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The composition of woodlands in Cumbria

Bunce, R. G. H.. 1989 The composition of woodlands in Cumbria. In: Adamson, J. K., (ed.) Cumbrian woodlands - past, present and future. London, HMSO, 12-17. (ITE Symposium, 25).

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Abstract/Summary

In pre-historic times, Cumbria was almost completely c6vered with woodland which, as described by Satchell (see page 2), was progressively and Selectively cleared by man for agricultural purposes. These factors have led to patches of woodland being left on land with the lowest value for agriculture. The remaining, or ancient, woodland is often on steep slopes and shallow soils, so it is difficult to appreciate the original woodland composition across Cumbria as a whole. The area of woodland probably reached its lowest point towards the end of the 17th century, but since .then it has been increasing; much of this increase has been relatively recent and is coniferous in character. The expansion of woodland cover has provided shelter for deer which have increased in the last 50 years. Whilst there are no comparable records for other woodland animals (eg birds), their numbers also have probably increased, at the expense of moorland species, as haS occurred elsewhere in Britain. The primary environmental influence in Cumbria is the climate, which is relatively mild even in -winter,- with high rainfall throughout the year, reaching a maximum in winter. This oceanic climate determines the overall composition of the flora and fauna in the area. Another general influence is the island status of Britain, which haS restricted immigration of species, in comparison with other mountainous areas in Europe. At a local level within the county, it is usually the soil nutrient and moisture status which is critical in determining the vegetation composition, but this is overridden in upland areas by the influence of altitude, which restricts the distribution of some species.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
CEH Sections: _ Pre-2000 sections
ISBN: 0117014214
Additional Keywords: Forestry, Cumbria
NORA Subject Terms: Botany
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 04 Nov 2008 11:00
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/4800

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