Owners of private woodland in South Yorkshire are being encouraged to restore areas of their woods planted with non-native species.
The Woodland Trust launched an initiative at Wentworth Castle Gardens and Bagger Woods, Barnsley, to restore ancient woodland and help re-establish habitats.
Ancient woodland covers just two per cent of the UK and half of it is in need of restoration.
In the last 10 years, 15 ancient woods in South Yorkshire have been put at risk from development, and one in Cawthorne, near Barnsley, was destroyed.
During the launch event woodland owners from across the region discovered more about the importance of ancient woodland and the support available to protect the habitat.
The Woodland Trust is offering advice and support to help people re-establish habitats affected by the planting of non-native species, such as conifers and rhododendron, so the conditions for species that rely on ancient woodland to survive can be strengthened and improved.
Robin Ridley, ancient woodland restoration project officer at the Woodland Trust, said: “The purpose of the event was to encourage landowners to try and help protect, or at least maintain what remains of any ancient woodland.
“Small changes to the way they are already managing their woodlands could help to slow or reverse the decline of what is left.
“Working closely with landowners is a really important part of the project, and it is vital we work together to help protect and eventually restore what’s left of this precious resource.”
The project has been launched after the Woodland Trust was awarded £1.9million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore 52,000 hectares of ancient woodland in ten regions across the UK.
Landowners wanting to restore their own woodland can contact the Woodland Trust by calling 07768 498407 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org