Multiple use of the resource
As with woods and forests in other areas of the country, West Midlands’ woodland is used for a range of purposes other than timber production and provides a multitude of ecological and environmental functions. It is an important part of the distinctive landscape that attracts tourists and leisure visitors who spend money in the West Midlands economy and it provides specific environments that support a range of organized sporting and recreational activities. Allied to this, government policy continues to encourage the multi-purpose use of woodland and forests as a means of less obvious benefit in terms of well-being, mental and physical.
The resource delivers considerable public good which has a non-market value (benefit); the value of landscape, biodiversity, archaeological heritage, carbon storage and contribution to water quality, quantity, flood risk management and reduced stream and river levels – low flows
Woodland Size & Type
Nearly 87% of the total woodland cover comprises individual woodland areas of over 2 hectares. However, there are 35,327 smaller woods and these small pockets of woodland – copses, spinneys and strip woods, rather than large scale plantations – that define our distinctive landscape, attract tourists and provide that intangible amenity value. They also play an essential role supporting biodiversity, acting as individual habitats in their own right, but also linking other, larger wooded areas and other habitats.
Broadleaved species are predominant accounting for 62% of the wooded areas. Some 39% of the total woodland cover is classified as ancient semi-natural woodland. The greatest ancient woodland cover is in Herefordshire (54%), followed by Worcestershire (48%) and Warwickshire (41%), 31% in Shropshire and 29% in Staffordshire
In total, 5,383 ha of new plantings were established between 2002 and 2008/2009 with rates increasing.