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Black Poplar

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					SPECIES ACTION PLAN                                                                    Black Poplar

   1. Current Status
   1.1 Description
   A thousand years ago the native black poplar (Populus nigra
   betulifolia) thrived across the lowland floodplains of the British
   countryside. Often known as ‘Water Poplar’, its huge, often
   steeply leaning bulk was a common sight alongside rivers,
   ponds and wet habitats. It was so useful for building and
   scaffolding that it was habitually planted near farms and
   villages. The shaped lower branches were prized for cruck
   frames and its ability to withstand shock loads made it a
   favourite of wagon makers. Its other uses included turnery,                                         Tim Roberts
   clogs, basket making, poles and rafters. Its mysterious, gnarly
   look also gave it a spiritual attraction and in some parts of        English Name:
   Britain it was the subject of tree-dressing ceremonies. Older        Black Poplar
   trees also provide a habitat for many other species, especially
   invertebrates and epiphytic plants. Since the start of the 19th      Welsh Name:
   century the black poplar has been quietly vanishing from our         Aethnen Ddu
   landscape as a result of development, drainage and tree
                                                                        Scientific Name:
   clearance. Also, as the need for native timber has dwindled,         Populus nigra betulifolia
   fewer black poplars have been planted. An added complication
   is that only male trees were usually planted as females were
   considered a nuisance because of the drifting white down they
   produce, thus the species seldom has the opportunity to spread
   by setting seed.

  1.2 Extent and Distribution                                             1.3 Legal status
  United Kingdom                                                          The black poplar is not a protected
                                                                          species but individual trees may be
  Black poplars were formerly common in the southern half                 protected by Tree Preservation
  of Britain extending from the eastern parts of Wales across             Orders (TPO's) or because they are
  to East Anglia. It has been estimated that there are now                home to protected species, such as
  around 5,000 - 7,000 trees in the UK. It is believed to be              bats. Certain trees may have a
  our most endangered native timber tree with almost all the              degree of additional protection due
  surviving specimens being at least 150 years old.                       to them being within protected
                                                                          areas such as nature reserves,
  Wales                                                                   Wildlife Sites or SSSIs. A felling
                                                                          licence from the Forestry
  Black poplars are certainly present in the eastern half of
                                                                          Commission would also be required
  Wales and many exist in North Wales. In NE Wales around                 for felling trees over certain sizes
  220 specimens have been identified and their distribution               depending on circumstances (refer
  mapped. Only two of these, however, are female.                         to Forestry Commission guidelines).

  Conwy
  49 specimens of black poplar are known to be present in                 1.4 Priority status
  the Conwy Valley. All are male and it has been speculated               • Proposed UK Priority Species
  that most have sprouted as a result of fragments from
                                                                          • Local Priority Species
  mature trees present further upstream. It is thought that
  almost all are over 150 years old. It is highly likely that
  there are more specimens within the Conwy LBAP area that
  have not yet been identified.
SPECIES ACTION PLAN                                                                    Black Poplar

    2. Factors causing loss or decline
•   Felling of trees for development or safety concerns.
•   Removal of windfall trees which would otherwise survive in situ or regenerate from the stump.
•   Lack of regeneration due to a lack of female trees in the area.
•   Loss of suitable habitat (e.g. floodplains; drained for agriculture)
•   Widely dispersed population makes site based conservation difficult.
•   Re-pollarding of old trees, which often results in tree death.




    3. Current action
UK/ Wales
• The UK Black Poplar Conservation Group was set up in 1998 to share experience and best practice
  to benefit the species on a national level.
• Several regional black poplar groups are working to preserve, maintain and promote known trees
  in their own regions.
• Work on the DNA testing of around 600 samples is being undertaken at Nottingham University.

NE Wales
• Hundreds of cuttings from native stock are being grown on at several sites, ready for replanting
  near their sources. In NE Wales, Llysfasi College in Denbighshire and the Welsh College of
  Horticulture in Flintshire are currently growing cuttings. Black poplar cuttings are also being grown
  in the BTCV nursery at Alyn Waters Country Park.
• EAW is planting trees as part of Flood Defence work.
• Vetted new trees are being added to the central database maintained by the Institute of Terrestrial
  Ecology records co-ordinator, Jane Croft.
• Denbighshire County Council (formerly Clwyd) and the Forestry Commission hold records of black
  poplars in NE Wales.
• The Clwyd and Elwy Conservation Trust, Llysfasi College, the Forestry Commission and Denbighshire
  CC have introduced a grant scheme to assist landowners in Denbighshire wishing to replant black
  poplar on their land.
• The NE Wales Plant Biodiversity Group will be co-ordinating action to benefit the species across the
  region.
• 49 black poplars in the Conwy Valley have been recorded and the locations and conditions of each
  noted.
SPECIES ACTION PLAN                                                                Black Poplar

   4. Objectives

   1. Protect and maintain existing black poplars.
   2. Establish the current extent and distribution of black poplar in Conwy.
   3. Encourage the natural regeneration and planting of new trees.
   4. Raise awareness of the importance of black poplar.
   5. Undertake all necessary research and monitoring.




   5. Links to other plans
   Coastal & floodplain grazing marsh HAP
   Lowland wood pasture HAP
   Parkland and veteran trees HAP
   Semi-natural woodlands HAP
   Rivers and streams HAP
   CCBC Countryside Strategy
   Adjacent LBAPs (Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Snowdonia)



   6. Sources of information
   Principal author: Adrian Lloyd Jones (CCBC/NWWT)
   UK lead partner: Black Poplar Steering Group
   Local lead partner: North East Wales Plant Biodiversity Group

   • Black poplar website: pages.eidosnet.co.uk/proe/
   • Cheshire biodiversity website: www.whitwell-it.i12.com/cheshire-biodiversity/plant-
     blpoplar.htm
   • White, J. 1993. Black poplar: the most endangered native timber tree in Britain. Forestry
     Commission Research Information Note 239.
   • Flintshire Species Action Plan for Native Black Poplar, 2002 (draft).
SPECIES ACTION PLAN                                                                        Black Poplar
7. Proposed Actions - Black Poplar
7.1 Policy and Legislation                                Objective           Partner            Target
7.1.1 Ensure existing black poplars are fully protected                                   No net loss of black
by the planning system and ensure adequate scrutiny            1        CCBC              poplars as a result
of proposals involving the development or drainage                                        of developments.
of floodplain.
7.1.2 Consider the protection of potentially                                              TPO’s on all
threatened specimens through the application of                1        CCBC              threatened trees by
Tree Protection Orders and assess effectiveness                                           2007.
7.1.3 Encourage condition planting of locally sourced          3        CCBC              From 2003
black poplars where appropriate.
7.1.4 Ensure the protection of black poplars are               1        EAW               From 2003
considered within flood defence work programmes.
7.2 Species/Site Safeguard and Management
7.2.1 Encourage landowners to fence off or otherwise
protect dying and fallen trees to encourage natural          1, 3       CCBC, CCW, CC     From 2003
regeneration & sucker growth.
7.2.2 Take cuttings from existing local trees and pass                                    Initiate action by
                                                               3        CCBC, CC
to appropriate nurseries for planting.                                                    2005
7.2.3 Investigate potential sites for the planting of                   CCBC, NWWT, EAW, By 2006
                                                               3        Tree Wardens, CC,
new trees and produce proposals for action.                             NEWPBG
7.2.4 Consider the possibility of re-creating areas of
floodplain woodland within Conwy and produce                   3        CCW, CCBC, EAW    By end 2007
proposals for action.
7.2.5 Grant aid the planting of native black poplar.           3        CCBC, CCW, FC     From 2003
7.3 Communication and Publicity
7.3.1 Co-ordinate activity to benefit the species.        1, 2, 3, 4    NEWPBG            From 2003
7.3.2 Continued development of links with other
black poplar projects nationally and based upon            1, 2, 3, 4                     From 2003
                                                                        CCBC
genetic work, investigate transfer of stock around the
country.
7.3.3 With other LBAP groups, produce a black poplar
                                                          1, 2, 3, 4    FC, CCW, EAW,
information leaflet (consider production of an all-                                       By 2004
                                                                        CCBC, NEWPBG
Wales leaflet)
7.3.4 Inform landowners and the public about the                        CCBC, FC, CCW,
                                                          1, 2, 3, 4                      By 2004
plight of the species and of the care of trees.                         CC
7.3.5 Via the NEWPBG, produce guidelines on                             CCBC, FC, CCW,
propagating, planting and management of black                  3                          By 2005
                                                                        EAW, CC
poplar.
7.3.6 Encourage members of the public to send
records of sightings of black poplars to the Conwy          2, 4, 5     CCBC, NWWT        From 2003
Biodiversity Officer.
7.4 Research and Monitoring
7.4.1 With other LAs create and maintain an up-to-
                                                                        CCBC, BSBI, FC,
date register of all trees and historic sites and            2, 5                         From 2003
                                                                        NEWPBG
landowners in Conwy or North Wales.
7.4.2 Follow up genetic fingerprinting programme.            2, 5       CCW, FC           By 2005
7.4.3 Continue recording new sightings and plot              2, 5                         From 2003
                                                                        FC, CCBC, BSBI
locations on GIS.
7.4.4 Review this action plan every five years               2, 5       CCBC              2007

				
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Description: Black Poplar