Bournemouth University

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New book profiles the biodiversity of the New Forest

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'Yesterday's Wimborne, Today's History' is on display in the town The new book which profiles the biodiversity of the UK’s New Forest in Hampshire

BU Professor Adrian Newton and his colleagues from the University’s Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Change have helped produce a new book which profiles the biodiversity of the UK’s New Forest in Hampshire, the first account of its kind.

As editor of ‘Biodiversity of the New Forest’ (Pisces Publications), Professor Newton coordinated production of this comprehensive snapshot of one of Britain’s newest national parks.

The book summarises what is currently known about the Forest’s characteristic species and the habitats with which they are associated. Each chapter looks at current trends in the status and distribution of different groups of organisms including the condition of various habitats, with the aim of informing future management decisions and identifying particular issues and species of concern.

“This book has brought together the expertise of a number of specialists who have a deep understanding of the Forest, to help raise our understanding and awareness of its very unique and special character,” said Professor Newton. “This work highlights just how special the New Forest is as a place for wildlife; it is undoubtedly one of the most important areas in the country for biodiversity. Hopefully this book will help ensure that its unique value is conserved for years to come”.

The New Forest was originally created as a Royal forest by William the Conqueror in 1079 for the private hunting of deer. Today, the 141,000 acres of the Forest are home to more than two thirds of British species of reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and moths, fish, bats, dragonflies, and damselflies. Each of these groups of species is profiled in the book, together with lichens, fungi, flowering plants, bryophytes, birds and mammals. Even for those groups that are less well represented, at least one sixth of all British species have been recorded in the area. In every group considered, the New Forest is home to species of national conservation concern.

“There are few places in western Europe that offer such a rich mosaic of semi-natural habitats,” Professor Newton concluded. “The unique character of the New Forest is largely attributable to its long history of grazing by large herbivores, reflecting its origins as a Medieval hunting forest and the survival of a traditional commoning system. As the Forest faces new challenges,in this era of climate change, maintenance of these traditions is going to be crucial to the survival of its special character”.

‘Biodiversity in the New Forest’ edited by Professor Adrian Newton is available from Pisces Publications and is priced at £17.50 + £3.20 p&p (in the UK).

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