Acorn Ecology surveys

The value of trees



From the 25th November to 3rd December it’s National Tree Week, the UK’s biggest tree festival! This event is run by The Tree Council and is dedicated to celebrating the beauty and benefits that trees bring to our lives. It first began in 1975 and is still successfully inspiring others to appreciate trees to this day.

Trees not only provide valuable habitat for wildlife, they supply us with food, fuel, resources and vital services such as flood defence and air and water purification. Trees are also great for the economy. As stated by The Tree Council, there is evidence to show that trees increase property values and footfall in shopping and business areas – perhaps money really does grow on trees!

Considering Trees in Development

Many priority wildlife species rely on trees to provide suitable habitat for shelter and food. Developments which involve the removal of trees therefore put these species at risk and this must be taken into consideration in the planning process. The National Planning Policy Framework explains that planning permission will not be granted for developments which will result in the loss or deterioration of important habitats, particularly ancient woodlands and veteran trees. It is therefore important to consider wildlife from the very beginning of a project. An ecologist can advise on the likely impacts of your development project and work with you to find a solution.

Ancient Woodland

The NPPF defines ancient woodland as: “An area that has been wooded continuously since at least 1600 AD”. The Woodland Trust has recently brought out guidance to assist planners and give advice when it comes to ancient woodland. You can find it on the Woodland Trust website as a free download.

Veteran Trees

The NPPF defines aged or veteran trees as: “A tree which, because of its great age, size or condition is of exceptional value for wildlife, in the landscape, or culturally”


Trees can support bats in a number of ways. Potential Roost Features (PRF’s) refer to features such as lifted bark or split branches which provide small crevices where a bat could roost. Bats also rely on tree lines during commuting and foraging. An ecologist can conduct a survey to assess the value of the trees on a site and determine the impact on bat species if that tree were to be lost. Here at Acorn Ecology we can carry out ground level surveys of trees, but we also have the in house expertise to do aerial surveys, with qualified climbers.


Trees provide important food sources and nesting habitat for dormice, with hazel being a particularly favoured species. Treelines also provide connectivity between habitats which allow dormice to move through the landscape. Dormouse surveys can provide information on whether or not dormice are using habitat on site and the constraints this may have on your project.


All nesting birds – from pigeons to barn owls – are protected by UK law. All clearance works must be done out of the nesting period (April to August inclusive) but please be aware that some birds nest outside of this period. It may be that you need a nesting bird survey or an ecologist to be present during works, but rest assured Acorn Ecology can guide you through the process and work towards achieving your goals.

If you need ecological surveys give us a call at your local branch (Exeter, Bristol or Guildford) or email us at

Have you seen our Surveying Trees for Bats Course? Running in Bristol on 2nd March 2018

The best choice for your wildlife surveys

Exeter: 01392 366512

Bristol: Tel: 0117 923 2768 / Mobile: 07971 994324

London & South East: Tel: 01372 602372 / Mobile: 07443 652988

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