Modern Wood-pasture & Parkland

The modern municipal park could be considered as a recently created version of the recognised habitat ‘Wood-pasture and Parkland’.

This habitat type is characterised by

  • ancient/veteran trees -some of the oldest living organisms in the UK,
  • the presence of grazing animals – maintaining a semi-open habitat by controlling tree and shrub regeneration and animal dung aiding invertebrates and fungal diversity,
  • the presence of microhabitats including hollowing trees, other decaying wood, rot holes, ageing bark and fallen but regenerating trees, which support a wide range of specialised invertebrates, lichen and fungi,
  • nectar sources for invertebrates,
  • open grassland ground vegetation,
  • continuity – in terms of very long-lived individual trees and continuity of management.

Against this template the modern neighbourhood park substitutes modern grass mowing for grazing, but without the dung.
It could offer suitable microhabitats for invertebrates, lichen and fungi if managed sympathetically, but does suffer from the major drawback of rigorous tree management eliminating the opportunity for microhabitats based on standing deadwood and over mature trees.

However, this habitat type is not without potential improvement, without threatening the basic ongoing low maintenance regime.

As a public amenity space there are standards against which amenity parkland can be evaluated – Green Flag Standards – which can be used either formally, as in an application for a Green Flag Awards, or informally for evaluating any neighbourhood park.

Details of these standards and how they can be used to evaluate  neighbourhood parks are here.

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