The Nature of the New Forest

The Nature of the New Forest
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The New Forest is an extraordinary survivor of a medieval landscape and pastoral economy which supports one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in the lowlands of north-west Europe.
At the heart of the Forest is a common, a single interconnected parcel of land where communities of commoners graze their livestock.This common, the Open Forest, supports an outstanding diversity of habitats ranging from old-growth woodlands, heaths and bogs through affluent suburbs and into the intertidal of the western Solent. Within these sweeps of landscape are traditional village greens along with grasslands emerging from the scars of recent conflicts. Freshwater permeates the land with hundreds of clean-water ponds and a suite of unmodified river systems, running from springheads to the sea.
The wildlife of the Forest is exposed to ecological stresses so that few species thrive, but many survive, so supporting an unrivalled diversity of life. Much of what makes the Forest special is the survival of once commonplace species which have been lost elsewhere through habitat destruction and dereliction. A growing appreciation of the dynamic nature of the Forest, driven by herbivory, fire and ground disturbance, provides an inspiration for those who wish to restore wild nature to less fortunate places.
The author, Clive Chatters, has spent the last 40 years living and working in the Forest as a naturalist and conservationist. In celebrating the riches of its wildlife, he tells the story of the people who have helped us understand its nature and have stood up against those who would do it harm.

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