The Forestry Commission has issued a Research Note which explores the benefits and drawbacks of converting non-native planted woodlands to native woodlands.
The note also evaluates woodland owners’ and managers’ attitudes towards, and experiences of, conversion.
Increasing the area of native woodlands, including the conversion of non-native conifer woodland to native woodland, where appropriate, is an aim of the UK Forestry Standard Guidelines on Biodiversity.
The Research Note reports that attitudes and experiences vary according to owners’ objectives. Managers whose primary objective is conservation are prepared to invest time and resources converting their woodlands. However, those whose primary objective is timber production are reluctant to pay for conversion because they can be concerned that it will reduce productivity, especially where competition, herbivory and biosecurity threats to native tree species are a potential issue.