Biodiversity and the Natural Environment

By designing grassland and parkland trees, woodland and water parkland features in an intricate pattern, Brown created a varied mosaic of habitats, concentrated in one place, that provide plenty of homes for wildlife, some of them very rare. They include grassland, wood pasture, woodland and wetland habitats but most important are the hundreds of parkland trees he incorporated or new trees he planted which are now 300 to 1000 years old. They are important for their decaying wood and the nooks and crannies that develop in old wood, that lichens, fungi and invertebrates such as beetles need to survive, as well as providing roosts for bats. These trees reach a very great age because they grow in open grazed areas rather than competing for light and nutrients in woodland. Brown’s landscapes offer important refuges for wildlife and stepping stones for species to connect with habitats in the more intensively farmed or developed landscape that surrounds them.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are our nationally most important sites for nature conservation, and occur in Brown sites collectively at more than double the density compared to the landscapes that surround them.

Information about specific SSSIs can be found by using Natural England’s Designated Sites search tool.

For information about the natural environment including rural, urban, coastal and marine environments mapped across Great Britain, visit the MAGIC website

Going Wild: Biodiversity in Brownian Landscapes - webinar 
Watch Leslie Pearman from Natural England highlight how Capability Brown’s landscapes provide havens for wildlife and stepping stones for species to connect with similar habitats in the wider landscape. Of European importance are the ancient trees that were retained or planted by Brown, a key component of wood pasture and parkland habitat, that provide homes for dead wood dependant species such as beetles, lichens and fungi, as well as providing roosts for bats. Read The contribution of Capability Brown to ecology, ecological connectivity, landscape character and ecosystem services webinar presentation.

Download "What Capability Brown did for Ecology: the legacy for biodiversity, landscapes & nature conservation" Research paper presented by Natural England at Sheffield Hallam Conference 15-17 June 2016


Biodiversity in Brownian Landscapes leaflet (download)
Habitats and Species at Capability Brown sites – a short guide (download)