Welcome to the Woodland Wildlife Toolkit

Do you own or manage a wood, or advise on woodland management?

This site provides advice on managing woodlands for wildlife, in particular rare and declining species that are dependent on woodland habitats.

Use the TOOLKIT to help you:

  • Find out which important* wildlife is likely to be in or near your woodland based on survey or distribution data
  • Understand the habitats and features that these species need
  • Know more about how to provide these habitats through managing your woodland

*species that rely on woodlands and are rare or declining

The following organisations have helped to develop the toolkit: Bat Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Plantlife, RSPB, Sylva Foundation and Woodland Trust.

See the woodland information and advice section for guidance on habitat management techniques and links to further information on woodland management issues and protected species.

See assessing your woodland's condition to get an overview of the condition of your woodland's habitats and identify any issues you may need to address to help support habitats and species.

The toolkit applies to England and Wales, but is currently incomplete for Scotland.


The toolkit's search function does not cover every species that occur in woodland. It includes the needs of those which are national priorities for conservation 1, plus a selection of commoner species, or groups of species with similar habitat requirements that act as indicators of good habitat condition. Each of the species or groups listed below has a factsheet. When you use the toolkit, you will be able to access both summary information and the factsheet for the species relevant to your wood.

Plants: Seventeen species including a selection of rare woodland plants, together with a range of common species, which are at risk of becoming scarcer in the absence of a more active management regime. Some common species are included as important nectar sources for bees and other insects and in turn these pollinating insects are beneficial to other woodland plants. Others are species that can potentially act as indicators of the success of reinstated favourable management.
Dog Violet, Primrose, Yellow Bird's Nest, Bastard Balm, Spreading Bellflower, Honeysuckle, Herb Paris, White Helleborine, Fly Orchid, Solomon's Seal, Lily of the Valley, Bluebell, Fingered Sedge, Goat Willow, Narrow Leaf Helleborine. You can also access factsheets for Box and Wych Elm.

Moths: Nine species, all are national priorities that are dependent on woodland.
White-spotted Sable, Goat Moth, Argent & Sable, Drab Looper, Barred Tooth-striped, Light Crimson Underwing/Dark Crimson Underwing, Common Fan-foot, Clay Fan-foot.

Birds: Fourteen birds, all are national priorities and dependent on woodland.
Woodcock, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Garden Warbler, Wood Warbler, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Hawfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Nightingale

Lichens: All are national priorities, grouped according to the particular woodland features they depend on. The general principles of managing woodland for important lichen assemblages are summarised.
Lichen rich woodlands, Lichen rich deadwood.

Butterflies: Fourteen butterflies, all are national priority species that are dependent on woodland.
Chequered Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Wood White, Brown Hairstreak, Black Hairstreak, White-letter Hairstreak, Duke of Burgundy, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Heath Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary.

Other invertebrates: National priority species, grouped according to the particular woodland features they depend on. This way groups of unfamiliar invertebrates can be captured in one go and in a more easily digestible way.  There are also individual factsheets for four species.
Violet Oil Beetle, Blue Ground Beetle, Stag Beetle, Southern Red Wood Ant.
Groups: Saproxylic Beetles Group, Yellow Splinter Group, Wood-edges, glades and rides invertebrates, Woodland and shrub canopy invertebrates, Carr and woodland seepage invertebrates, Woodland litter invertebrates, Dead wood invertebrates.

Mammals: Dormouse and seven bats, which are national priorities and dependent on woodland.
Lesser Horseshoe Bat, Greater Horseshoe Bat, Bechstein's Bat, Noctule, Soprano Pipistrelle, Barbastelle, Brown Long-eared Bat.

Fungi: There is a generic factsheet for woodland fungi, plus national priority fungal communities in line with Natural England's Biodiversity Action Plan Fungi Handbook. There is an additional sheet for Hazel Gloves, as it is unique and very rare.
Woodland fungal communities, Bulky deadwood fungi, Toothed fungal communities.


1 These are those listed on Section 41 of the NERC Act (2006).

The production of the toolkit was initiated and overseen by RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Plantlife, Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission and Natural England, with input from specialist consultants on particular species.

Many other organisations and individuals provided comment and advice.

This website has been developed by Sylva Foundation.

Data on species distribution for the search tool have kindly been provided by the following organisations:

Bird data from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO): Data from Bird Atlas 2007–11, a joint project between, BTO, BirdWatch Ireland and the Scottish Ornithologists' Club.

Dormouse data from the People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES): Current dormouse distribution in the UK, including counties where there have been successful reintroductions. (Data from: National Dormouse Database 2011 - 2016)

Plant data from the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI)

Butterfly and moth data from Butterfly Conservation (BC)

Fungi data from The Fungus Conservation Trust (FCT) and Association of British Fungi Groups (ABFG).

Lichens from the British Lichen Society (BLS) under a Creative Commons Licence (CC-BY- 4.0).

Bat data from the Bat Conservation Trust (CT)

Data are held in a database specifically for toolkit use, hosted and managed by the RSPB.

The data behind the toolkit includes the following:

Source / Organisation Information Data description
Bat Conservation Trust (BCT)

Bat species distribution data

Polygons (per species) with associated text

Bat Conservation Trust (BCT)

Bat species distribution maps (images)

Images of the bat distribution data

British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

Bird species distribution data

2km2 (tetrad) summary data from the 2007-2011 BTO atlas. Contains both breeding (B1, B2 and B3) and wintering records.

British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

Bird species distribution data (images)

Images of 10km2 summary data from the 2007-2011 BTO atlas. Contains both breeding (B1, B2 and B3) and wintering records.

Butterfly Conservation (BC)

Butterfly species distribution data

Actual grid references (up to 1km2 in resolution) buffered by 2km. Date period 2005-2014.

Butterfly Conservation (BC)

Moth species distribution data

Actual grid references (up to 1km2 in resolution) buffered by 2km. Date period unknown.

Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI)

Vascular plant species distribution data

 
British Lichen Society (BLS)

Lichen species distribution data

10km2 actual grid references. Date period 1950-2013

British Lichen Society (BLS)

Lichen species assemblages/hotspots

10km2 grid squares with the number of assemblage species in each.

British Mycological Society (BMS)

Fungi species distribution data

10km2 actual grid references. Date period 1950-2007

Fungus Conservation Trust (FCT)

Fungi species distribution data

10km2 actual grid references. Date period 1950-2016

FCT/BMS

Fungi species assemblages/hotspots

10km2 grid squares with the number of assemblage species in each.

People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)

Dormouse distribution data

County level data with dormouse described as absent, rare, present or frequent


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