For the first time, this book tells the Wytham story in a way that is accessible to both scientist and general reader alike. It provides a fascinating overview of what the Woods are like, their history, composition (both plant and animal), and how their wildlife has changed over time. This iconic location has been the subject of a series of continuous ecological research programmes dating back to the 1920s, a level of continuity of research effort that is extremely rare. Hence there is a strong emphasis on the significance of the scientific research that has been done there and how this has contributed to ecological thinking elsewhere.
Peter Savill started his career by working for the Forest Services in Sierra Leone for four years, and in Northern Ireland for 12 years, and retired in 2006 a Reader in Forestry at the Oxford Forestry Institute, Department of Plant Sciences, Oxford. His main interests are in silviculture and tree breeding with silviculture. His main Wytham-based research has been into the potential invasiveness of sycamore in the Woods; other research has mainly been concerned with broadleaved trees. He was Chairman of the Wytham Woods Research and Management Committee up to 2006, and is Chairman and a founder member of the British and Irish Hardwoods Improvement Programme.
Prof. Perrins LVO, FRS first started studying the tits in Wytham, under the supervision of David Lack, in the autumn of 1957, just over half a century ago! In addition to woodland birds, he has also made studies of seabirds - especially those on the Pembrokeshire islands of Skokholm and Skomer - and of Mute Swans on the Thames and at the colony at Abbotsbury, Dorset. He was deeply involved in the discovery that decline of swans in the 1980s was in large part due to the ingestion of lead angling weights. This work resulted in bans on the use of most of these weights. He has been President of the British Ornithologists' Union, the International Ornithological Congress and the European Ornithological Union and is an Honorary Fellow of the American, Dutch, German and Spanish Ornithological Unions.
Keith Kirby has a BA in Agricultural and Forest Sciences 1970-73 and a D.Phil obtained fro his studies of growth, production and nutrition of bramble 1974-76. He has been Woodland Ecologist with Nature Conservancy Council from 1979 (which became English Nature and then Naturla England). He has carried out survey work in Lake District 1977-78 and in many other areas since. His research at Wytham has been largely based on the permanent plot system established by Colyear Dawkins.
Nigel Fisher is currently employed as the Conservator of Wytham Woods. He has held this position since July 2000. He has twenty-two years of countryside management experience after working for English Nature, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and Countryside Management Projects. He has a Geography BSc and an MSc in Environmental Forestry.