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Creating new habitats

Heron Stalking

Through the creation of The National Forest, the existing wildlife of this part of the Midlands is not only being protected, but also enhanced. Every year, areas of land that, up until recently, may have had limited value for our wild plants and animals are being transformed into new wildlife habitats.

In the last 11 years, over 5,400 hectares (or 21 square miles) of new woodlands, grasslands, ponds, hedgerows, heathland and other habitats have been created within The National Forest. Over time, as these habitats mature, they will support more and more plants and animals. Some of the first areas of habitat to be created are already supporting an exciting range of species. Otters are back in the area for the first time in decades, buzzards are now a regular sight and wildflowers are blooming across the Forest.

Common Blue Moth

This transformation has been achieved through the hard work of a large number of people and organisations. It is a sign of the changing times that the two groups which, in the past, had the greatest impact on the nature of the Forest area are now making the greatest contributions to the creation of new habitats. The restoration of mines and quarries has given us some of our best sites for wildlife and the enthusiasm of the farming community has been vital to the delivery of The National Forest project. At a time when the farming industry is under ever increasing pressure, The National Forest Tender Scheme has given them the opportunity to create new wildlife habitats while still maintaining their land and their livelihoods.

Through the continued efforts of all of these people, it is the aim of the National Forest Company to continue adding more and more new habitats for wildlife. Through our Biodiversity Action Plan, we are making sure that we are creating habitats where they are most needed and can have the greatest benefits. Eventually, we hope to have 19,000 hectares (or 73 square miles) of woodland and other associated habitats within the Forest.

The end result will be a landscape that is a mosaic of connected habitats that are beneficial to wildlife. We plan to create a more robust ecosystem, one which is both stronger now and better able to meet the challenges of the future such as our changing climate. This will mean that, for generations to come, The National Forest will be a special place for wildlife in the Midlands.