Woodland winter works to help winged wildlife
The Devon Wildlife Trust is carrying out the work as part of a three year project funded by Viridor Credits Environmental Company. The winter conservation work will take place at the charity’s popular 57 hectare Dunsford nature reserve in the Teign Valley. It involves coppicing areas of the woodland to create suitable conditions for the rare pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies which are found there.
The work focuses on managing these areas to increase the spread of violets, the fritillary’s food plant. As well as coppicing, parts of the site will also be thinned to help benefit the reserve’s biodiversity.
Matt Boydell, DWT’s Land Management Manager said: “The woodland work at Dunsford is really important as the coppicing provides exactly the conditions that the butterfly thrives in. It allows sunlight to reach the woodland floor resulting in stunning flushes of violets and bugle and other species that attract these butterflies. Although coppicing can look drastic, within a few years the trees will begin to sprout again. In the past, sites like Dunsford would have been managed in this way so it is great to be able to reinstate this declining management practice.”
It is hoped that Dunsford will act as a demonstration site, encouraging neighbouring landowners to adopt similar management practices and help link colonies across the whole of Dartmoor.
For more information about the project visit www.devonwildlifetrust.org and click on ‘Special projects’.