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Natur Cymru

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Hunting ancient trees

Ancient TreeA complex ecosystem can flourish on an individual tree, which may have been part of human history over many centuries. Ancient trees are undeniably special, but they have never been systematically recorded, nor has their significance been documented. A project is putting this right, as Chris Hickman explains.

29Roof

The roof of Wales

Mountains give Wales its backbone and character. The National Trust has a stake in many of these, both as a landowner and a conservation organisation keen to resolve the pressures which have damaged the uplands and to bring them into good heart. Helen Buckingham and David Bullock describe some of the ways in which the National Trust is striving to improve the ecological health of this unique upland heritage.

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Otter

Table for one? Otter foraging in Wales

A study into the diet of otters on Gower and in Pembrokeshire has shed new light on the ecology of otters in Wales. They prove to be opportunistic feeders which often leave freshwater for the sea, but the core of their diet consists of small fish and amphibians. Understanding the relationship between a healthy environment and a healthy otter population, as Gareth Parry explains, will help inform a holistic approach to conservation.

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Wood pasture

Wood-pasturage in the oakwoods

Upland oakwoods have enjoyed high conservation status, sometimes being referred to in hushed tones as ‘temperate rainforests’. So it may come as a shock that many may be closer to plantations than to the original vegetation which occupied their sites over many centuries. As George Peterken discusses, a greater understanding of the history of these woodlands offers the freedom to manage them more flexibly, as well as to value the surviving fragments of wood-pasture more highly.

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oak processionary larvae

Adapting Welsh woodlands for the future climate

We see trees and woodlands each day, in rural landscapes and in our towns and cities. They form a very familiar component of our surroundings, and provide a subtle back-drop heralding the change of seasons, particularly apparent on a clear autumnal day at the end of October, when this article was being written. Duncan Ray and Richard Carrick consider the impacts of climate change on Welsh woodlands, and assess how woodland management must adapt to maintain their resilience and value to society.

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Bats

On the track of scarce bats in Wales

Some bats are hardly ever recorded because they are so rare; yet other bats may be escaping detection because they are elusive rather than rare. Untangling the rarity versus elusiveness conundrum takes systematic surveys, helped by some clever technology. Rob Strachan updates the scarce bat picture emerging from the endeavours of bat workers throughout Wales

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Heritage

The invisble heritage

Should the purpose of the National Park encompass cultural heritage as well as the natural environment and landscape? This issue has been the subject of much discussion for over thirty years. It is now accepted that it is imperative that we protect the cultural heritage if we are to live sustainably in our world. The definition of ‘cultural heritage’ is also clearer now than in the past. In this article Twm Elias looks back on debate that’s been raging on this interesting issue.

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Veteran Tree

Views from a veteran tree

Woodland ecology has not concerned itself overly with individual trees, but with the habitats dependent on groups of trees. Yet individual trees can themselves form habitats, supporting a wealth of life including rich lichen communities, as Yun Hider explains.

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