Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Borrowdale rainforest in Lake District declared national nature reserve
Environment World News

Borrowdale rainforest in Lake District declared national nature reserve

A temperate rainforest in the Lake District has been declared a national nature reserve in a move that will protect the rare ancient habitat for future generations.

The Borrowdale rainforest is one of the few surviving examples of a “mysterious and untouched” landscape that covers less than 1% of the UK.

The 721-hectare (1,782-acre) National Trust site contains the Borrowdale valley, the wettest inhabited place in England. The area’s high rainfall creates a humid environment resulting in lush, moss- and lichen-covered woodland with ancient oaks and other historic native species.

This habitat is often referred to as Atlantic oakwood, atmospheric Celtic woodland that once carpeted western Europe but has almost entirely disappeared due to natural climate change during prehistoric times and human deforestation in the 1800s.

Temperate rainforest now appears only in fragments in Britain and Ireland, mostly in western uplands such as Argyll and Lochaber in Scotland, Gwynedd in Wales and Devon and Cornwall in England.

The designation comes as part of the King’s Series of National Nature Reserves, in which five nature reserves will be created each year for the next five years to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.

The protection afforded by the scheme from the public body Natural England should help conserve the native rainforest, linking it up with other nearby habitats and reducing the risk of flooding to homes and farms.

The National Trust said the move was a “big step towards caring for and enhancing the incredibly special rainforest of Borrowdale”.

Hill covered with forests surrounding a lakeView image in fullscreen

Jade Allen, the trust’s national nature reserve officer, said the organisation was “incredibly excited” about the future of the site.

“Our hopes for the future are for the woodlands to be thriving and regenerating, for the biodiversity here to be improving, and to start reconnecting the woodland fragments for a more resilient ecosystem.

skip past newsletter promotion

“By working with our local farmers and community, we are looking forward to better connecting people with the woodlands, wider nature and history of Borrowdale.”

Guy Shrubsole, the author of The Lost Rainforests of Britain, said it was “fantastic” that Borrowdale’s rainforest was being recognised for its ecological significance.

“Like all of Britain’s temperate rainforests, the Atlantic oakwoods of Borrowdale remain fragmented and under pressure – so I very much hope this new declaration inspires farmers and landowners in the surrounding landscape to get involved in rainforest restoration, and benefit from some of the new government funding available for this.

“By reconnecting rainforest fragments, we can make these rare, beautiful habitats more resilient to the climate crisis, whilst also helping reduce flooding downstream.”

Jean Johnston, a senior adviser at Natural England, said England’s rainforests were “vitally important for wildlife, climate and water management” that were “ancient and special places” of huge value to local people and visitors.

She said: “We warmly welcome this renewed commitment to making sure they are looked after so that they are in the best possible health. We look forward to working with the National Trust and its farming tenants to help make the woods and ancient wood pastures even bigger and better than they are now.”

Source: theguardian.com