RARE wet woodland habitats are to be created at five Yorkshire sites to encourage insects, plants and animals to thrive,
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust received £35,366 from SITA Trust to create and manage uncommon wet woodland habitat sites around the River Aire and its tributaries.
Wet woodland habitat supports a large number of insects, specifically beetles, many of which are rare in the UK.
Plants such as the bright yellow flowering marsh marigold thrive in this habitat and birds including lesser-spotted woodpecker, willow tit and siskin all make their home in it.
Vital cover and breeding areas for mammals such as otters can be provided and numerous bat species are often found in good wet woodland habitat.
The Upper Aire Floodplain project will work across five sites including two in Otterburn, in Craven, one in Steeton Ings near Silsden, one at Marley, near Keighley, and one at Ryeloaf Meadows near Bingley.
Work will include tree planting in some areas, which are then fenced off to prevent grazing.
Wetland areas will also be created, in particular at Ryeloaf, by the digging of shallow ‘scrapes’ (pools) and channels.
At Marley and Ryeloaf, areas of willow will be restructured using traditional woodland management practices of coppicing (cut back to ground level to stimulate growth) and pollarding (top of branches cut off to stimulate new growth at the top).
The new habitat should also help prevent flooding in the urban areas of the upper Aire valley.
Don Vine, of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The SITA Trust funding is enabling Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to create more of what is a declining, but incredibly important habitat.
“Wet woodland, which is sometimes referred to as carr woodland, has dried up in many parts of the UK as a result of draining for agriculture and water abstraction drying up rivers.”