Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Ancients of the Future

Protecting England’s treescapes

Violet Click Beetle is found at just
sites in England
Royal Splinter Cranefly recorded at only
sites in the world
Over
species in the UK rely on ancient trees

What are “ancients of the future”?

There is something about ancient trees that inspires wonder; they are often rich in history and cultural heritage. But ancient trees, historic wood pasture and parkland are also some of the most important and exciting habitats for wildlife in the UK. An astonishing amount of UK wildlife is reliant on these ancient trees – over 2,000 species. The trees seem indomitable, their habitats and wildlife secure, but actually they are under threat and declining.

Why is this habitat at risk?

The key challenge facing ancient trees and the wildlife that relies on them is habitat continuity. Without that, much of their wildlife will be unable to survive. There is a growing threat from the increased prevalence of tree diseases and, potentially, climate change. Of greatest concern is the age gap between the existing ancient trees, rich in biological and cultural history, and the “ancients of the future”.

How we will bring back the “ancients of the future”

This Back from the Brink project, led by Buglife, will work with landowners and managers in key places across England. We will secure that vital continuity in some of our most iconic landscapes, focusing on 28 highly threatened species. These include the Violet Click Beetle, the Royal Splinter Cranefly, Eagle’s-claw Lichen, Coral-tooth Fungi, Knothole Moss and the Noctule Bat.

We will call on expert and citizen science, and trial new survey and management techniques. Crucially, we will work with a range of practitioners, from land managers to tree surgeons and historic landscape architects; developing a toolbox of training, information and guidance, to influence how sites are managed in future and raise awareness about species. We want to change public attitudes to ancient trees and decay-loving creatures and fungi, and we’ll offer close-up encounters with some of our most threatened and elusive ancient tree wildlife.

What we’re aiming for

By the end of the project, we aim to have increased the resilience of ancient trees and landscapes in target areas, protecting them from existing and emerging threats. In particular, we want to ensure there will be that vital continuity of habitat far into the future. Our knowledge on threatened species and how to conserve them will be increased and measures put in place to secure their future.

How to get involved

Can you help us by getting involved with our citizen science and outreach events for the ancients of the future? Find out more at our talks, walks and events.

You can get the latest news, and find out about upcoming events, by following the links below.

Project timeline

December 2017

Violet Click Beetle boxes installed

June 2018

50 trees veteranised

September 2018

First deadwood roadshow run

January 2019

Four lichen species translocated

June 2019

eDNA and pheromone survey methods developed and tested

December 2019

64 hectares of wood pasture restored/created

April 2020

Management at 20 sites influenced

Project contact

Sarah Henshall

Project Manager
sarah.henshall@buglife.org.uk
07968 976213

Latest news

pollarding 3

Pollarding

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Get Involved

Noble Chafer - Gnorimus nobilis (c) Roger Key

New Forest Noble Chafer workshop

Lyndhurst, SO43 7AD
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Bringing them Back From The Brink

We are working with some of the most endangered species in England. With your help we can do even more to save them.

Project lead

Delivery partners