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Habitat Restoration

Updated Monday 7th March 2005

Much of the landscape of the British Isles has been has been damaged or destroyed by human activity, often resulting in a loss of the native species that lived there. But is this really the end of the story for Britain’s wild places? Some people think not, and they are working to restore some of the natural areas of the British Isles and to prevent the decline of many threatened species

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Himamlayan Balsam Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission

What is a habitat?

The place where an organism lives is known as its habitat. Biologists have identified many different types, such as pine forest, chalk grassland and moorland. Habitat types are usually distinguished by differences in the environment, such as the soil. They are often classified by the plants (on land), or invertebrates (in the sea) that are found there.

Are there any natural habitats left in the British Isles?

Farmland on the south downs. Image copyright Becky Seeley. Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Much of the landscape of the British Isles has been managed by humans for millenia.


Before the arrival of humans the British Isles looked very different and evidence suggests that much of the land was covered by dense woodland. As agriculture increased this wildwood was replaced with semi-natural habitats such as managed forests, open meadows and hedgerows. Humans may have helped to create or maintain these habitats, but they are now home to many species, from the sand lizard to the cornflower, and they are an important part of the British landscape.

The British Isles also has many more ‘natural’ habitats such as mudflats, sand dunes and cliffs. Even these habitats have not escaped from the influences of people and have been affected by pollution and development.

Sea thrift on cliff. Image copyright J.C. Partridge. Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Sea cliffs support diverse communities of plants and animals.


Next: Why bother restoring habitats?


For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

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