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‘The Foresters with Horns - large herbivores in the wildwood and modern naturalistic grazing systems

There is considerable scope for using large herbivores to help create future diverse landscapes. The lecture will examine whether Frans Vera’s ideas are applicable in Britain.

The pre-Neolithic forests of Britain contained large mammals such as wild ox, deer and wild boar. Did these horny foresters create an open park like landscape as Frans Vera in the Netherlands has proposed, or was it predominantly wooded? The question is relevant to our understanding of the origins of our flora and fauna, but also to ideas for creating new wild landscapes in the future. Research for English Nature by CEH and Bournemouth University suggests that Frans Vera's ideas have been overstated as far as the pre-Neolithic landscape is concerned. There is however considerable scope for using large herbivores to help create future diverse landscapes. Whether we can let these 'run wild' in the way that is done at Oostvaardersplassen will depend on resolving a variety of ecological, ethical and social issues.

Keith Kirby read a degree in agriculture and forestry sciences (Oxford) followed by research for D. Phil on brambles in Wytham Woods, and a couple of years phase 1 survey work in Cumbria. He then joined NCC in 1979 as apprentice woodland ecologist to George Peterken. He has remained as a woodland officer ever since, through the English Nature period 1991-2006, and from October 2006 as part of Natural England.


Keith Kirby | talks


Date and Time:

3 November 2006 at 6:30 pm


2 hours



Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
020 7679 1069
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Organised by:

Ecology and Conservation Studies Society
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Available from:

Additional Information:

For any queries, please contact e-mail: wright@britishlibrary.net; tel: 020 7485 7903,
or contact e-mail: a.inniss@bbk.ac.uk; tel: 020 7679 1069

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