Orchards were once widespread in the UK but are now disappearing.
However, they are an important part of the landscape – not just for food, but for supporting plants and animals.
Studies carried out by Natural England in 2004 and 2012 found that orchards contain a mosaic of habitats and are hotspots for biodiversity.
Study your local orchard
Want to study biodiversity in orchards near you? OPAL and the Field Studies Council have developed two guides to get you started, looking at the lichens and mosses that grow on fruit trees.
Lichens and mosses play a number of important roles in ecosystems and studying them can teach us about how our environment is changing.
Download our free guide to lichens in orchards in the east of England.
- Guide to orchard lichens (PDF, 13MB)
Download our free guide to mosses in orchards in the east of England.
- Guide to orchard mosses (PDF, 11.7MB)
About lichens & mosses
Discover the importance of studying organisms on trees.
Browse our gallery for a taster of what you might find growing on trees in your local orchard.