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Beefsteak Fungus Fistulina hepatica - Keith Cunningham lightning damaged oaks hugborough
Castle Eden - John Durkin
Williamton - John Durkin

Veteran Tree Ecology and Management

This page is under development

What is a veteran, ancient and notable tree? Veteran, ancient and notable trees can be native or introduced species and can occur in many different forms: maiden trees (a tree that has not been subjected to any form of cutting), coppiced, pollarded and many others.   The term 'veteran' tree is sometimes used interchangeably with 'ancient' tree. 'Veteran' refers to the second phase in a tree's life, when it has reached full maturity. It becomes 'ancient' in its third phase as it starts to die back. We're interested in recording trees that have a particularly large girth for the species and display important wildlife and habitat features such as:
  • hollowing or associated decay fungi;
  • decaying wood both within the trunk and in the canopy;
  • sap runs;
  • water-filled rot holes;
  • loose bark and rotting stumps;
  • limb loss/breakage;

It will generally include old trees, but also younger, middle aged trees where premature ageing characteristics are present. A tree of local importance or of personal significance to the individual recorder is called a 'notable tree'. This includes specimen trees or those considered to be potential, next generation veteran trees. Size alone is a poor indicator of veteran status, as different species may have different rates of growth or natural life spans. A willow may be a veteran at 80 years old, whilst an oak will have to wait another 300 years to assume the same state.

As explained on the Home page, veteran trees are very important for biodiversity. There are many species of fungi, lichen, mosses, beetles, birds and bats that rely solely on the presence of veteran trees for their roosts, nests, food sources, breeding grounds, water supplies and many more:

Beef Steak Fungus (Fistulina hepatica)
Chicken-of-the-wood/Sulphur Polypore (Laetiporus sulphureus)
Ganoderma pfeifferi (a fungus)
Giant Polypore (Polyporus giganteus)
Oak Polypore (Piptoporus quercus)
Cardinal Click Beetle (Ampedus cardinalis)
Dorcatoma flavicornis (a beetle)
Moccas Beetle (Hypebaeus flavipes)
Oak Bush-cricket (Meconema thalassinum)

Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus)
Violet Click Beetle (Limoniscus violaceus)

Clustered Mini-jelly Lichen (Collema fragrans)
Eagle's Claw Lichen (Anaptychia ciliaris)
Hale Lichen (Parmelina quercina)
Melaspilea lentiginosa (a lichen)
Orange-fruited Elm-lichen (Caloplaca luteoalba)
Pale Crater Lichen (Gyalecta flotowii)
Sap-groove Lichen (Bacidia incompta)
Shy Cross-your-heart Lichen (Cryptolechia carneolutea)
Southern Grey Physcia Lichen (Physcia tribacioides)
Tree Lungwort Lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria)
Wadeana dendrographa (a lichen)

Barbastelle Bat (Barbastella barbastellus)
Bechstein's Bat (Myotis bechsteinii)
Brandt's Bat (Myotis brandtii)
Brown Long-eared Bat (Plecotus auritus)
Common Pipistrelle Bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
Daubenton's Bat (Myotis daubentonii)
Grey Long-eared Bat (Plecotus austriacus)
Leisler's Bat (Nyctalus leisleri)
Natterer's Bat (Myotis nattereri)
Noctule (Nyctalus noctula)
Soprano Pipistrelle Bat (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)
Whiskered Bat (Myotis mystacinus)
Blunt-leaved Bristle-moss (Orthotrichum obtusifolium)
Knothole Moss (Zygodon forsteri)

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)

Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)
Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Picoides minor)
Little Owl (Athene noctua)
Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)
Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Stock Dove (Columba oenas)
Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)