Main structural types

The rest of this chapter contains a description of the main structural types of woodland. These types include: high woodlands (uniform, open woodlands with a high canopy and sparse shrublayer); many layered woodland; low woodlands (more dense woodlands with a low canopy and a high proportion of shrubs and multi-stemmed trees); shrub-based systems; edges; and half-open land and small-scale mosaics. In each case, the character of the woodland is described, key species are listed, suggestions for planting densities are given, as well as details of field-layer establishment. Finally, some examples of the application of these types are given.

Dark high woodland: one storey high stand type

Basic characteristic

Homogeneity, co-dominance between the trees. One tree-species should be chosen to dominate the scene by itself, or a combination consisting of one nursery species and one key character species could be chosen. The crowns should be lifted high, the trunks should be without forks, to give the impression of a large space or hall with a roof supported by pillars: a ‘pillared hall’.


There is a need for a necessary area before subgroups and sub-characteristics can even be discussed, otherwise homogeneity will be too disturbed. If the size is sufficient, solitary individuals or distinct groups in the undergrowth can increase effects, but just very, very few. Also, if done with care, very few individually grown trees could be included as an exceptional part of the canopy. If these solitary grown trees have canopies that do not cast dense shade, then an interesting effect of light pockets can be created, with light finding its way down the stand.