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12th September 2018

Ancient Tree Forum clothing – back by popular demand


We are pleased to be able to offer a range of Ancient Tree Forum clothing in partnership with Teemill.

All items are made of 100% organic cotton, sustainably sourced and ethically produced. Each item can be fully traced through their website, providing peace of mind.

We have started with a small range of items and plan to add more in the future, make sure you check back for updates.

The ATF store can be found here.

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15th August 2018

Wessex ATF visit to Montacute 7 August 2018

Julian Hight, who chairs ATF Wessex, reports on the group’s summer visit to Montacute in Somerset.

Around 47 people arrived on the morning of 7th August at Montacute House in Somerset for the fifth Wessex ATF field visit. Assembling at the old stable block, after introductions we were treated to a short sylvan history of the estate by George Holmes – National Trust Lead Ranger for south Somerset – our host for the day.
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7th August 2018

Press Release: Ash Dieback Found on Three New Host Species of Tree in the UK

The Forestry Commission is urging industry to be vigilant for signs of ash dieback on new tree and shrub species and report suspected sightings through its Tree Alert reporting system.

The call comes after three new tree and shrub species in the same family as ash (Oleaceae) tested positive for ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) infection at the Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire.

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6th August 2018

Course: Lichens in a Somerset Parkland on Exmoor

A Field Studies Council (FSC) one-day course designed for people who already have an interest in lichens and want to extend their knowledge in Nettlecombe Court, Taunton, Somerset on Saturday 1 September 2018.

The course consists of an introduction to characters used to identify lichens including morphological characters and simple spot tests for chemical compounds, followed by a field visit to collect common lichens on trees and to see a few specialist lichens of ancient woodlands and parklands in the Nettlecombe Park SSSI. FSC fold out keys to lichens will be available for purchase and other keys and literature available for consultation. Participants are also welcome to bring their own specimens to identify in an afternoon lab session.

Pat Wolseley is a lichenologist at the Natural History Museum, London, past President of the British Lichen Society, co-author of Monitoring with Lichens, the FSC fold-out key to Lichens on Twigs and other literature on lichens.

One Day Course details

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2nd August 2018

Revised National Planning Policy Framework

ATF response to revised NPPF

The ATF are, of course, very pleased that our detailed representations, together with co-ordinated efforts by our partner organisations (in particular the Woodland Trust and Arboricultural Association), have influenced this revised NPPF so that government has properly recognised the value of these truly remarkable trees. Ancient and veteran trees are better protected than ever before for their cultural, heritage value and as irreplaceable habitat. Their loss or deterioration should now only be permitted in wholly exceptional circumstances when deciding planning applications. This puts ancient and veteran trees on a par, in policy, with ancient woodland (which includes ancient wood pasture) and other highly valued elements of the natural environment such as SSSIs and the built heritage.

We are also pleased that the exceptional value of ancient trees has been recognised. We look forward to working with Natural England and partners to provide guidance on identification of ancient and veteran trees to ensure that this policy advice achieves its aim of protecting irreplaceable habitats and England’s unique tree heritage.

We value the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ancient Woodland and Ancient trees in helping to achieving this, especially their chair, Rebecca Pow, who spoke eloquently of her support at our conference last year, and who has been a staunch ally.

Policy Paper: National Planning Policy Framework

Woodland Trust Press Article

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27th July 2018

The Ancient Tree Forum – The Next 20 Years

The ATF charity was created in 1998, which makes it 20 years old this year. But we are not celebrating just yet. The ATF group was created a few years earlier and 25th anniversary celebrations will follow at the appropriate time. For now we are focusing on building an organisation that can survive and flourish in the years ahead.

The ATF has grown from an informal collective of experts and tree enthusiasts into an influential, complex network that spans the UK and Europe. Our influence on veteran tree policy across the UK and Europe continues to grow, an example being the recent added protection for Ancient Trees in the National Planning Policy Framework. New ATF regional groups are developing all the time, and field meetings across the country are now frequent. However, delivering all this activity with only two part time staff requires volunteer trustees to carry huge responsibilities. This is neither desirable nor sustainable in the long term and there is a need to reduce the risk to the ATF associated with over reliance on a few key volunteers. Additionally, as we have grown, accountability and decision making has become more complex. The former structure of twice yearly board meetings followed by an open meeting is now too infrequent and cumbersome.

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27th July 2018

Ancient Tree Forum Summer Conference Hereford 28-29 June 2018

The annual ATF summer conference took place at the Courtyard in Hereford in June this year. The event was, again, sold out with over 100 people attending each day. We had wonderful and informative presentations on the remarkable trees of Hereford, predicting the distribution of ancient trees in the UK, retrenchment pruning of lapsed pollards, tree architecture, and many more. All the presentations were well received and created a great deal of discussion. Thank you to our speakers Keith Alexander, Aljos Farjon, Frits Gielissen, Megan Gimber, Victoria Granger, Reg Harris, Kylie Harrison Mellor, Rob Jarman, Tom Joye, David Lovelace, Archie Miles, Russell Miller and Ian Rotherham for providing such informative and thought provoking talks.

PDF copies of the speakers presentations can be found on our website on the resources page (click on the link below).

PDF copies of Speakers Presentations Hereford 2018
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27th July 2018

Paper published on Dendrochronological assessment of British veteran sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) trees

This paper describes the dendrochronological analysis of 28 Castanea sativa trees (veteran historic trees, forest trees and coppice stems) sampled from 15 sites in southern Britain. The findings provide the potential means for dating Castanea sativatimbers sampled from palaeoenvironmental and historical contexts. The extraction of sawn sections from long-dead (up to 60 years in this study) trees and stumps is proven to be a reliable method for dating veteran trees in cultural landscapes and ancient woodlands; and for revealing the growth history of historic/iconic trees.

Dendrochronological Assessment of British Sweet Chestnut

If you would like to know more, please contact Rob Jarman on robinajarman@gmail.com.

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27th July 2018

Publication of new chapters of SSSI selection guidelines: lichens and fungi 

Chapters 13 (Lichens and associated microfungi) and 14 (Non-lichenised fungi) of the SSSI selection guidelines were published recently.

Fungi – main changes

New criteria for:

  • Globally threatened taxa (IUCN Red List)
  • GB and country-level IUCN red-list threatened species
  • Coastal sand dune fungi
  • Tooth fungi associated with oak, beech or sweet chestnut
  • Caledonian pinewood fungi
  • Beech deadwood fungi
  • Oak deadwood fungi

The grassland fungi chapter (2009) has been updated and included as Section 4, with tighter criteria and predefined species lists/concepts for scoring.

 Lichens – main changes

  •  Replacement of the site scoring system (Combination of Species) with habitat-based assemblage scoring (assessment of ecologically coherent assemblages)
  • Adoption of new lichen habitat indices for: heathland & moorland, limestone, maritime rock, watercourses, metalliferous habitats and pinhead lichens (deadwood habitats)
  • Refinement of woodland lichen indices, including adoption of new index names
  • Criteria for lichens that are Threatened on the global IUCN Red List
  • Introduction of a new criterion for taxa that are Near Threatened for which Britain has International Responsibility (including endemics and near-endemics)
  • Evaluation of species with a Threat status in country-level red data lists (where available)
  • The value of non-native trees is covered in an appendix

The presence of WCA Sch. 8 species is no longer a reason to notify in either chapter. In the absence of country-level red lists, NERC Sect. 41 species are included in the fungus chapter.

Visit JNCC website for more info.

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