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UPDATE Friends’ Lecture – Facsimile Ancient Woodlands

Thursday 21 September 2023 at 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

A satellite image of Ascension Island
The greening of Ascension Island

UPDATE: Please note that there is an error in the Autumn 2023 Friends’ Newsletter, and this event will take place on Thursday 21st of September, and not the 14th as originally posted. Additionally, it will be held in the Frank Lecture Theatre, not the Tress. The Friends of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden apologise for any inconvenience caused. 

Join Dr Paul L Smith BSc MCIEEM CEnv as he delivers a positive message regarding reforestation. Some facets of ancient woods are irreplaceable and their destruction is discouraged but, as human population and impact increase, this resource will degrade. The Convention on Biological Diversity requires global restoration by encouraging the deliberate creation of woodlands with ancient characteristics.

Paul uses the example of the restoration of Ascension Island’s anthropogenic cloud forest: by importing plants to the island this led to the transformation of species-poor, fern-dominated hillsides to species-rich cloud forest in about 100 years. How much more could be achieved with appropriate ecological intention?

Despite the gloomy scenario of a species-denuded, ecological dystopia, Paul looks to a brighter vision, one of purposely assembled, species-diverse, complex ecosystems not only on Earth, but wherever mankind’s travels eventually lead.

Paul’s research interests relate to large scale habitat restoration. His recent paper on the creation of Facsimile ancient woodlands will form the basis for this talk.

Paul is qualified in Botany and plant taxonomy and has worked as a botanist/ecologist for 38 years in the academic, public, and private sectors. As a consultant, Paul specialises in survey and mitigation design for bryophytes, lichens, and non-lichenised fungi. He works for the University of Bristol as a Senior Associate Teacher, supervising project students and teaching aspects of applied ecology at BSc and MSc levels. He has led botanical field trips in the UK and Tenerife. Paul has also run courses at the Botanic Garden and advised on the recreation of plant life in the Evolutionary Dell.

Lectures will take place on the third Thursday of the month at the Frank Theatre, Wills Physics Laboratory, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TL.  (This is where lectures took place before the pandemic.)

Lectures are free to Friends on production of their membership card.

Guests will be asked for a donation (suggested £5).

Attendees can use the following University car parks: Sports Centre, The Hawthorns, Woodland Road (12, 15, 17 & 19) and University Walk

There is free on-street parking (ticket required) from 6:30pm on these streets: St Michael’s Park, Woodland Road (north), Priory Road

There is metered on-street parking on Tyndall Avenue, Elton Road and University Road.

For a map and detailed parking information please see the map linked below:

Friends Lectures Parking Guide and Map

Zoom link:

Friends Bristol Botanic is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Friends Bristol Botanic’s Personal Meeting Room

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 686 563 6221

Passcode: TULbV4


Thursday 21 September 2023
7:30 pm to 9:30 pm


The Frank Theatre
Tyndall Avenue
BRISTOL, BS8 1TL United Kingdom
+ Google Map

2 thoughts on “UPDATE Friends’ Lecture – Facsimile Ancient Woodlands

  1. Hello,
    I would love to attend the Facsimile Ancient Woodlands lecture on Thursday evening. Just wondering if I need to book in advance, as I don’t see an option for this on the website?

    All the best,


    1. Hi Debbie, yes there’s no need to book, you can turn up. If you’re not a member of the Garden you’ll be asked for a donation of £5. Andy.

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