Title: A multidisciplinary approach to understanding resilient woodlands in an Anthropocene landscape
Authors: Hannah Sellers1, Angharad Evans1, Rachael Holmes1, Juan Carlos Berrio1, Richard Jones1, Stefano De Sabbata1,Andy Neilson2, Moya Burns1, Mark Williams1
1University of Leicester and 2Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust
Abstract: Woodlands in the British landscape have been reduced to fragments and continue to decline in species diversity. In the heavily human-modified landscape of Leicestershire and Rutland, UK, Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland sites have undergone various human disturbance, including extensive modification such as clear-felling in the 20th century. This allows for examination of past resilience to disturbances of current and future concern to ensure the persistence of these now rare, socially and ecologically important habitats. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, we aim to examine resilient, biodiverse woodlands in lowland Britain, using Narborough Bog in Leicestershire, UK as a case study. Through the integration of information from the fossil pollen record, place-name evidence of past vegetation cover and recent botanical surveys, the methodology aims to identify regions that have maintained long-term, stable woodland cover and to elucidate how ecosystems have recovered after natural environmental or anthropogenic disturbances, through the examination of vegetation succession and species diversity in past and present woodland ecosystems. This study will aid the development of a replicable, spatiotemporal framework to investigate future resilient woodland ecosystems in an Anthropocene landscape to inform local policy and conservation efforts.