Hagge Wood Trust
Nearest town or settlement: Selby
Contact detailsOrganisation: Hagge Wood Trust
The recreational and educational benefits of the new wood-meadow at Escrick, North Yorkshire are at least two and a half times greater than the costs of creating and maintaining it, says a new report, produced by The Economics for the Environment Consultancy Ltd (eftec) on behalf of Hagge Woods Trust (HWT).
The report, the first of its kind, measures the natural capital value of Three Hagges Wood-Meadow, a 10 ha community woodland near York. The site has been developed in response to Professor Sir John Lawton’s call for more, bigger, better and joined habitat networks (1).
HWT began converting a former barley field into a wood-meadow ecosystem in December 2012, by planting 10,000 native trees into a sown meadow to create a mosaic of woodland and meadow. With aims to increase biodiversity on site, this pioneering project uses ecological principles and a range of low-tech land management methods. By 2014, 200 native plant species had been recorded, along with 374 species of pollinating insects. An increase of 25% in insect species, including breeding populations, has been identified this year compared to last. The wood-meadow now also supports a variety of birds, amphibians and small mammals.
Recreation and educational benefits will increase further in the coming years. In addition carbon sequestration will rise significantly as the wood-meadow develops. The wood-meadow will generate overall environmental and social benefits of between £15,000 - £20,000 a year over the entire life of the wood-meadow.
Lin Hawthorne, HWT Project Designer, commented,
‘Using techniques that are within the grasp of land managers everywhere, HWT has created the first of what we hope will be a series of community-based, grass-roots projects that make Prof Sir John Lawton’s aims achievable. Biodiversity on site has shown a strongly upward trend within two years. We now also have the data to show land managers and government that conservation makes economic sense.’
Rosalind Forbes Adam, Chair of HWT added, ‘Careful design and management of nature can extend the value of a Forestry Commission grant. We hope the Three Hagges Wood-Meadow will encourage other landowners to follow our lead. Our aim is to inspire a wood-meadow in every parish.’
This study follows the Corporate Natural Capital Accounting framework, developed by eftec and others, for the independent Natural Capital Committee. The committee advises the Government on the sustainable use of England's countryside.
Ece Ozdemiroglu from eftec said:
‘Small beneficial projects like this can be done with very little data and effort. The results clearly make the case for similar investments elsewhere.’
Further information is available in these two documents :