Natural regeneration of woodland is the process by which dying trees are replaced by new ones growing from seeds that fall and germinate in situ. Over much of the last two to three hundred years foresters have restocked and created managed woodlands by using transplants grown in nurseries – natural regeneration is much less predictable. Natural regeneration was rarely used until the late 1980’s when a combination of factors, including a desire for a more natural approach and financial constraints lead to it becoming more popular, despite the fact that few woodland managers had any experience of success with it. Browsing damage by deer is a serious problem in lowland woodlands, it can retard satisfactory natural regeneration; and competition from other vegetation can inhibit the growth or cause the death of tree seedlings. In the Beechwoods accidental trampling of fragile new growth is also a problem.
Photo: Beechwoods, Cambridge, July 2012