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The oak and beech woodlands of the Forest comprise the largest tract of native forest in Southern England. The unenclosed woodlands of the Forest are dominated by oak and beech in varying proportions. Oak is generally dominant on the heavier soils while beech tends to dominate on lighter soils. In both these woods, holly is dominant beneath with small amounts of hawthorn and maple.
The oldest generation of trees contain the richest woodland lichen flora in lowland Europe, with many mosses and ferns. The older trees with their associated dead wood provide habitats for a species-rich fauna of beetles and flies. A large number of crevice nesting insectivorous birds also find homes and food amongst the dead timber. The ground flora of the woods though is impoverished due to grazing.
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