Veteran Trees

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Veteran trees are very old trees. Most will be over 100 years old, but different tree species become veterans at different ages. They often have rotting heartwood and a hollow core. The UK is famous for its veteran trees and has an international responsibility to protect them. They may be found in a wide variety of locations other than woods, such as gardens, hedgerows, riverbanks, parkland as well as some university and college campuses.

An individual veteran tree contains many different micro-habitats, such as loose bark, holes and deadwood that provide food and shelter for a wide range of species. The deadwood habitat is particularly important, as around 20% of Britain’s woodland insects are associated with it. Veteran trees are also important as nest and roost sites for birds and bats and for lichens, mosses and fungi.