Step 1: Understand the basics about key habitats

We take pride in our natural environment here in Cornwall.

It’s at the core of our identity and heritage and is globally renowned for its beautiful land and seascapes.

Many areas of Cornwall are nationally and globally important conservation sites. Farmland is a vital feature of Cornwall’s rural heritage, community and economy; three-quarters of Cornwall’s land is used for farming. It’s useful to understand habitat types within your area – which ones do you notice on land within your local community?

Habitats are: the natural homes or environments of animals, plants, or other organisms.

Woodland habitats are dominated by trees, forming a closed canopy. Woodlands are made up of three distinct layers:

  • The ‘canopy’ layer, which is the mature trees creating the overarching canopy of the woodland.
  • The ‘understory’ which is made up of younger trees and scrub.
  • The field layer and ground layer; these include ferns, grasses, flowering plants and mosses.

Types of woodland include ancient woodland, broad leaved woodland, wet woodland and secondary woodland.

Woodlands can lock away carbon for centuries in their timber and soil, helping to combat climate change; mature woodlands are most effective at being ‘carbon sinks’. Woodland can also help prevent flooding, prevent soil erosion, and reduce pollution. Mature woodland is an important habitat because of the range of plants, animals, birds, invertebrates and fungi it can support.

Species often found in woodland include: badgers, deer, dormice, birds (such as wood warblers, wood peckers and crossbills) and woodland specialist bat species.