Arley Forest Plan
The Arley Wood, 42 hectares is an ancient woodland site that lies just north of the M6 between Birmingham and Coventry. It once formed part of the old Warwickshire Forest Plan that was written for 4 woodlands that were part of the old West Midlands Forest District. The management objectives for Arley wood have not changed, just the district it is managed under. Please be aware when you read through this plan some of the text will refer to Hay, May and Weston and Waverley Woods which were part of the old plan area.
The main objectives for Arley Wood is the continued production of commercial timber and maintaining biodiversity whilst the gradual reversion back to broadleaves takes place on the former ancient woodland sites.
The current conifer stands were planted between 1962 and 1970 and Corsican pine is the dominant species. This is now been badly effected by Dothistroma needle blight, a pathogen that gradually weakens the tree, significantly reducing timber yields and it can also eventually lead to tree mortality.
Arley Wood contains the only known Red wood ant community in Warwickshire and specific management objectives for these have been outlined within the Warwickshire Species Action Plan. Specific measures will be introduced to help maintain the appropriate habitat conditions which will include the continuity of needle litter around nest sites.
The main objectives for the Arley Forest Plan are:
• Continue production of commercial conifers and broadleaves.
• Introduce a mixture of continuous cover management systems.
• Utilize natural regeneration to help diversify future stand structure and species diversity
• Make the economic potential of the forest more resilient in the face of a changing climate, pests and diseases.
• Maintain existing provision for informal recreation throughout the woodland.
• Restore PAWs site back to broadleaved woodland.
• Manage Wood ant sites and associated habitats sensitively.
• Retain in perpetuity the Trees of Special Interest and increase the deadwood resources throughout the FP area.
What we'll do
The plan details approved management operations including felling and restocking for the ten years to 2021, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.
The current threat to the primary conifer species in Arley wood will influence the timing and scale of felling operations. Group felling will take place around ants’ nests to create adequate conditions for an understory of wide spaced conifers to be planted creating a new source of needle litter. Existing broadleaved stands will be managed through continuous cover systems to provide a continuity of high forest and increase the deadwood habitat.
The planned areas of clearfelling, restocking and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2021 are summarised below.
Felling of 1.7ha of conifers. Group felling of 4ha of conifers. Planting of 2.5ha of conifers. Natural regeneration 1.5ha of conifers. Creating 1.7ha of open space.
In addition to these defined operations, ongoing thinning and selective felling of both conifers and broadleaves will be carried out in the plan area at five to ten year intervals.
The species composition will also change from 9% broadleaf, 90% conifer and 1% open space in 2011 to 28% conifer, 64% broadleaf and 8% open space in 2061.