Q. How was the rewinding / natural regeneration zone of the woodland opportunity mapped?
A. This was done by creating a 150 m buffer around existing woodland seed sources into the woodland opportunity zone. The logic being that seed distribution may occur up to this distance based on a study by Broughton et al. (2021). If the buffer is adjacent to a designated area the buffer only propagates into the opportunity zone if the designated area is wooded at that location.
Q. We need arable land for growing food, how do you deal with that?
A. We have used Defra’s satellite derived CROME crop maps to map where arable crops are grown and how they change over time. Using this knowledge we have excluded arable agricultural land from the woodland opportunity map. The CROME maps have also enabled us to identify which grassland areas are temporary and part of the arable crop cycle, rather than permanent pasture.
Q. Creating woodland on poor quality pasture penalises livestock farmers. How are they going to adapt?
A. By its nature, poor quality pasture is marginal. Converting poor quality pasture to woodland may make the land more productive, but in different ways. Improving the productivity of good quality pasture is a way to offset the loss of marginal land.
Q. Semi-natural grasslands have intrinsic biodiversity value and replacing them with woodland doesn’t make sense.
A. Our knowledge of where biodiverse grassland are is incomplete but we have tried to exclude such places using priority habitats data. This excludes some but not all biodiverse grasslands. Before creating any woodland it is necessary to undertake an ecological survey to discover the status of the land.