Welcome to the Woodland Wildlife Toolkit

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

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

See woodland guidance for practical advice on management techniques, information on woodland management issues and legal considerations.

The species factsheets tab gives summary information for all the species in the toolkit.

Use search your wood's wildlife to help you:

  • Find out which important wildlife is likely to be in or near your woodland based on available survey or distribution data
  • Understand the habitats and features that these species need
  • Provide these habitats through practical woodland management

Use assess your wood's condition to get an overview of the condition of your wood's habitats and identify any issues you may need to address.

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

Next step: Woodland management planning is a good way to integrate management for wildlife with your other objectives. One option is to use myForest - a free service for woodland owners, forestry businesses and wood users to help assess, record and manage woodland resources.


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 conservation1, 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.
Yellow Bird’s Nest, Bastard Balm, Spreading Bellflower, Herb Paris, White Helleborine, Fly Orchid, Solomon’s Seal, Lily of the Valley, Fingered Sedge, Narrow Leaf Helleborine. You can also access factsheets for Primrose, Bluebell, Dog Violet, Box, Goat Willow, Honeysuckle, Wych Elm and Hawthorn under Important Plant Species under the Woodland Guidance tab.

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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and Dead wood invertebrates.

Mammals: Dormouse, Red Squirrel 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). Equivalent list in Wales is Section 7 under the Environment Act (Wales, 2016).

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 organisations listed below. Thank you to all contributors. Details of the datasets are contained in 'About the data used'.

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)

Red squirrel data for England from Red Squirrels Northern England at Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

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

Butterfly and moth data from Butterfly Conservation (BC)

Stag beetle data from the People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES): Data from the Great Stag Hunt 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2015 and 2016.

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)

Invertebrate species (violet oil beetle, blue ground beetle and southern red wood ant) from the National Biodiversity Network (NBN). NBN data supplied under CC BY-NC, CC BY or OGL licenses. Data contributors: APHOTOMARINE, Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre, Cofnod, Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre, Environmental Records Information Centre North East, HeathNet, Highland Biological Recording Group, Lorn Natural History Group, National Trust, National Trust for Scotland, Natural England, Patrick Roper, the Royal Horticultural Society, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Shropshire Ecological Data Network, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, the Species Surveillance Project, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the Welsh Invertebrate Database and the Wildwatch North Pennines AONB project.

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 Species Data description
Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) Bat species distribution data Polygons per species.
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. Buffered by 1 tetrad for spotted flycatcher, tree pipit, garden warbler, redstart, willow warbler and lesser redpoll. Buffered by 2 tetrads for wood warbler, pied flycatcher, hawfinch, lesser spotted woodpecker and woodcock. No buffer for willow tit, marsh tit, nightingale.
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 2000-2014.
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) Hazel dormouse distribution data County/City/Unitary Authority level data with dormouse described as absent, rare, present or frequent. Date period 2011-2016.
People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) Stag beetle distribution data 100m grid references buffered by 1km. Data from 'Great Stag Hunt'. Records from 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2015 and 2016.
Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) Red squirrel distribution data 2km2 (tetrad) data (2013 to 2016). Data are sightings from the public and conservation organisations.
National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Violet oil beetle Records provided by National Trust Species Records, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by HBRG Insects Dataset, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Invertebrate records from sites that are mainly across Scotland, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by LNHG Biological Records Dataset, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Commissioned surveys and staff surveys and reports for Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves - Unassessed data, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by National Trust for Scotland Species Records, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre invertebrate species observations for Cumbria for the period 1500 to 2016, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Wildwatch North Pennines AONB project records for Cumbria, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Miscellaneous records held on the Cofnod database, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Shropshire Ecological Data Network database, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by SEWBReC Beetles (South East Wales), accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves Inventory, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by National Trust Species Records, accessed through NBN Atlas website. © Natural England copyright. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2018.

Records provided by Species Surveillance Project - Rare Priority Species on Natural England NNRs, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by BRERC species records within last 15 years, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Species Surveillance Project - In-House Pilots records for 2012, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by APHOTOMARINE, accessed through NBN Atlas website.
National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Blue ground beetle Records provided by Species Surveillance Project - Rare Priority Species on Natural England NNRs, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Welsh Invertebrate Database (WID), accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Species Surveillance Project - In-House Pilots records for 2012, accessed through NBN Atlas website.
National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Red wood ant Records provided by Shropshire Ecological Data Network database, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by National Trust Species Records, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by SEWBReC Bees, Wasps and Ants (South East Wales), accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre invertebrate species observations for Cumbria for the period 1500 to 2016, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by BRERC species records within last 15 years, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Patrick Roper Notebooks, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Welsh Invertebrate Database (WID), accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Royal Horticultural Society.

Records provided by HeathNet data, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by SER Species-based Surveys, accessed through NBN Atlas website.

Records provided by Invertebrate Common Standards Monitoring and ISIS Test Data, accessed through NBN Atlas website.



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