Skip to main content
Contact Us

Soil changes under long-term woodland establishment

img 9921 scaled
Home research Soil changes under long-term woodland establishment

Long term, large scale woodland creation in a “natural”experiment such as the WrEN project provides a unique opportunity to study soil development and changes over large spatial and temporal scales. Identifying the properties and changes of soil is crucial for understanding woodland habitat development and identifying the major influences on aboveground biodiversity change.

The WrEN soils project started in late 2016, when Forest Research staff visited 21 woodland and farmland sites across the English midlands. The chosen sites were a chronosequence of secondary broadleaf woodland (50–100 years old; these form part of the WrEN network), ancient semi-natural woodland (over 400 years old) and agricultural land adjacent to these woodlands (representing former land-use in the area). At each site, a range of samples were taken to analyse soil quality (such as soil nutrient and carbon stocks), as well as surveying earthworm species and abundance.

Research objectives

  • To assess changes in soil biological, physical and chemical quality due to woodland creation and woodland age
  • Compare ancient woodland soils with those of surrounding agricultural land

What's of interest


WrEN Project Blog

The Earthworm Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

WrEN Project website

The WrEN Project homepage


Soil changes under long-term woodland establishment
In this section
Soil changes under long-term woodland establishment
Research Status
Scientist - Soil Ecology
Forestry Staff Ashwood Frank.57f67127.fill 600x600 1
Funding & partners
  • The WrEN Project
  • uos logo pms 349The University of Stirling
  • woodland trust logo smallPart funded by the Woodland Trust
  • natural england logoPart funded by Natural England