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Dales tree survey is branching out
9:30am Sunday 29th July 2012 in News
Old trees in the Yorkshire Dales National Park have been put under the spotlight in a new conservation survey.
More than 800 have now been recorded in a bid to identify their condition and location.
Dales Volunteers and local groups have spent more than two years roaming the 680 square miles of the national park listing the old trees in one of three categories - ancient, veteran or notable.
The information they have gathered has been added to existing records to give a clearer picture of their numbers and distribution.
And landowners and visitors are now being asked to join in the survey to ensure that none is missed out.
Phill Hibbs, the national park authority’s trees and woodland officer, said: “So far, 833 have been logged and more are being identified or recorded on a regular basis. The majority (51 per cent) are oak trees, with ash, alder and beech making up around 15 per cent each.
“Some of them are very old indeed - possibly over 800 years - and look just like the Ents in Lord of the Rings - knarled and marked by time and the environment.
“They all play a vital role in the ecology of the national park and in helping to maintain the balance of nature by providing shelter and food for all sorts of native wildlife as well as a refuge for rare niche fungi and plants.”
The information gathered by the Dales Volunteers and other organisations has been uploaded to a national database set up under the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt project, which aims to record all the UK’s ancient, veteran and notable trees.
Andrew Colley, the YDNPA’s member champion for the natural environment, said: “The UK has an estimated 80 per cent of all northern Europe’s ancient trees. However, many of them are under threat from illegal felling, inappropriate management and development.
“For these reasons it’s important that we work alongside the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt to ensure the protection of these wonderful habitats and markers in time.
“Without the help of the Dales Volunteers and local organisation this would be an almost impossible task so we would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to them - and appeal to landowners and visitors to help as well.
“So when you are out and about within the national park and you spot what you consider to be an interesting old tree that has some unusual features, please take a note of its location, or perhaps a photo and get in touch with Phill, so that we can get it surveyed and added on to the data set.”