Monitoring Woodland Habitat

Monitoring Woodland Habitat

The South West’s upland and coastal woodlands are special, with their luxuriant growth of lichens, mosses and liverworts that give them their characteristic rainforest feel. These woods are actually classed as temperate rainforests and are internationally important for their lower plants. However, this habitat and its rare lichens and mosses are under threat as a result of changing management, tree disease, air pollution and climate change.

How healthy is your rainforest?

The Plantlife Future Scientists resource ‘How healthy is your rainforest?’ is designed for use with children and young people in schools, outdoor centres, Forest Schools and other settings. By looking closely at a woodland and recording data children will learn about some of the interesting features in woods and their mosses and lichens.

What's involved?

The resource includes a survey of woodland habitat features. There are 5 sections of the survey in which students will be recording what they find in the woodland. This includes what tree species there are, how much light is coming through the canopy,  and are there different types of moss shapes and lichen growth forms. Each of the five sections of the survey is easy to follow and comes with guidance on how to interpret their results. At the end of the survey the students will be able to describe what features there are and if this indicates if the woodland is healthy.

To help with the survey the are some short videos on YouTube you can access.

Download resources

The educator guide complements the ‘How healthy is your rainforest?’ survey with detailed advice on how to run the survey with groups, and also extension activities.

Download 'How healthy is your rainforest?' Educator's Guide

Download 'How healthy is your rainforest?' Survey Form

Building Resilience in South West Woodlands partnership

Building resilience in South West Woodlands is a Plantlife project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Plantlife is working in partnership with Dartmoor National Park, Exmoor National Park, the British Bryological society, the British Lichen society, National Trust, Woodland trust, South West Lakes trust, Tamer valley, Natural England, Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre.