Ancient and Long-established Woodland Inventory 2010

Category: Environment
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Ancient woodland refers to those woods that have had a continuous history of cover since before the period when planting and afforestation became common practice (mid‐1600s). These woodlands are important in terms of their biological and cultural value, and may even form links with prehistoric wildwoods. To date, unlike our European counterparts, no extensive study of ancient woodland has been conducted in the Republic of Ireland, leaving these irreplaceable habitats open to threats such as woodland clearance. This polygon shapefile constitutes the main output from the Ancient and long-established Woodland Inventory 2010.

A total of 481 woodland sites were digitised and the following categories were set up: - Possible ancient woodland (PAW) stands have been continuously wooded since 1660. - After additional research some PAW stands were upgraded to ancient woodland (AW) status. - Long‐established woodlands (LEW) have been continuously wooded since 1830. There are two sub‐categories, LEW (I) stands for which no evidence of antiquity could be found in older documentation, and LEW (II) stands for which there is evidence that the site is not ancient.

In addition, for each digitised polygon the stand type on the OS maps was determined. The categories used were semi‐natural broadleaf (SNB), mixed woodland (MW), conifer plantation (CP), non‐native broadleaf (NNB) and recent clearfell (RC).

This inventory is provisional in nature, investigating only a subset of Ireland’s woodland resource and available historical documents. However, it presents a working methodology to assist in the identification of these sites in Ireland. This study also promotes taking a multidisciplinary approach in the study of ancient woodlands.

Data Resources (5)

available as zip
available as html
available as esri rest
available as WMS
available as PDF

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Theme Environment
Date released 2010-01-01
Date updated 2021-09-10
Dataset conforms to these standards The INSPIRE Directive or INSPIRE lays down a general framework for a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for the purposes of European Community environmental policies and policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment.
Rights notes ['', 'Copyright Government of Ireland. This dataset was created by National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. This copyright material is licensed for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.', 'otherRestrictions']
Update frequency Other
Language English
Geographic coverage in GeoJSON format {"type":"Polygon","coordinates":[[[-11.265947788472001, 51.205966241541006],[-11.265947788472001, 55.820224054041], [-5.7508110697222, 55.820224054041], [-5.7508110697222, 51.205966241541006], [-11.265947788472001, 51.205966241541006]]]}
Spatial Reference Systems (SRS) TM75 / Irish Grid (EPSG:29903)
Vertical Extent {"verticalDomainName": "EPSG Projection 5731 - Malin Head height", "minVerticalExtent": "0", "maxVerticalExtent": "1014"}
Provenance information Historical Ordnance Survey (OS) maps and a contemporary forest inventory were used to create a GIS database of areas that have been continuously covered by woodland since c. 1830. The 481 woodlands identified by this process were systematically researched using a set of historical national surveys. This allowed stands to be grouped into different woodland categories. Other maps and historical documents were then identified as potential resources for ascribing woodland antiquity and existing research on ancient woodland was collated. Supplementary research included toponymical research and a detailed examination of historical stand type.