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Wildlife and roadkill.

Wildlife and roadkill.

by Lewis ~ 21 November, 2017 ~ comments welcome

By 2016, some 36.7 million vehicles were registered for use on the roads of the U.K.   Whilst sound statistics are available on human deaths from car / vehicle accidents ,  there is less reliable information on roadkill - the number of various animals killed on our roads each year.  Some information can be found in government statistics (link opens a PDF file), which suggest that deer are the largest category of casualties - though foxes and badgers are not far behind.

Apart from the government stats, there are a number of other organisations like the People’s trust for endangered species (PTES) and Project Splatter that are trying to gather detailed information on roadkill, both have web sites and apps for recording details of roadkill. Read more...

Plant pigments - the xanthophylls

Plant pigments – the xanthophylls

by Chris ~ 15 November, 2017 ~ comments welcome

The chlorophylls (and there are several different types) are the main light absorbing pigments in land plants.  They are located in the chloroplasts of the palisade and spongy mesophyll layers of the leaves.  The chlorophylls mainly absorb red and blue wavelengths  of light.   Apart from the chlorophylls, plants have other pigments - often termed the accessory pigments - notably the carotenes and the xanthophylls. Read more...

Hurstbourne 5 Mile Multi-Terrain Race (by Greg England)

Hurstbourne 5 Mile Multi-Terrain Race (by Greg England)

by woodlands blogs ~ 13 November, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Runners will be taking part in the challenging Hurstbourne Tarrant 5 Mile Multi-Terrain Race, on Saturday 28th April 2018.

This will be the 10th year that this event has taken place, starting at the George V playing fields and following part of the Test Way, through woods and farmland, taking in the beautiful scenery of the North Wessex Downs. The race coincides with the perfect time to view the spectacular bluebells in Doles Wood. Read more...

A year in our very own woodland – by Mark Vesey 

A year in our very own woodland – by Mark Vesey 

by woodlands blogs ~ 8 November, 2017 ~ 3 comments

In autumn 2016 my wife and I visited a small wood for sale on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. We had seen a few other sites but this held more promise as it was part moorland, part regenerating ex-forestry land.  The three things that made it of particularly interest to us were that: it was only twenty minutes away from home; it had a small natural pond; and it had some open space for planting new trees.  As a green person at heart, I often pick up acorns on walks and pop them in a pot.  I was however running short of space and needed somewhere to plant them!

Dan, from Woodlands.co.uk, met us on site and explained that the management plan favoured planting oak trees so that made it ideal for us. After a few months of paperwork, we received the key to the padlock of the woodland gate just before Christmas. A nicer present could not have been had. Read more...

The Monthly Mushroom : Fly Agaric

The Monthly Mushroom : Fly Agaric

by Jasper ~ 3 November, 2017 ~ comments welcome

We find them growing in fields, on parks, lawns, even between our toes, but most of us commonly associate fungi with woodland habitats. At this time of year, our forests are positively bulging with them.  Far from the view of their mushroom and toadstool fruiting bodies, their mycelial root system of thread-like hyphae are crucial for breaking down fallen leaf litter and decaying dead wood, returning once living matter to the soil. Some, like the Armillaria or Honey Fungus, are less beneficial, parasitising living trees, stunting their growth and even killing them outright. Others however, play a much more crucial role in our woodland ecosystems. These are the mycorrhizal species.

The term mycorrhiza comes from the Greek words “mykos” for fungus and “rhiza” for root, and describes the types of fungi that form symbiotic relationships with plants. Those that penetrate plant root cells are called endomycorrhizal or arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Read more...

"Action Oak" - should oak tree research be funded by DEFRA or by charity appeal?

“Action Oak” – should oak tree research be funded by DEFRA or by charity appeal?

by Angus ~ 31 October, 2017 ~ one comment

Oak trees are under threat through disease and climate change and it will cost serious money to research causes and solutions.  This could be paid for either through general taxation or by an appeal for charitable donations with help from high profile people such as celebrities and the Royal family.  The rate of required spending on oak disease is increasing.  It is proposed to set up an "Action Oak" charity appeal spearheaded by Woodland Heritage - an organisation based in Haslemere just 10 miles from the Forestry Commission's research arm at Alice Holt in Surrey.

Many people will wonder why the government isn't doing more directly through DEFRA Read more...

Oak, Ash and Thorn - new woodlands book by Peter Fiennes

Oak, Ash and Thorn – new woodlands book by Peter Fiennes

by Angus ~ 29 October, 2017 ~ one comment

Peter Fiennes immersed himself in British woodlands for a year and he dug out every literary reference to woodlands that he could and visited dozens of woodlands to appreciate their magic.  The result is an erudite and inspiring tome that is also a cry for help to preserve any ancient woodland that we haven't already destroyed. "Sell everything! Protect the land!" exclaims Peter.  He outlines a five-page action plan to protect British Woodlands which he also describes as a statement of the "bleeding obvious", including creation of more woods and visiting the woods more often.  When he joins one of the Woodland Trust's campaigns to protect an ancient woodland near Sheffield from development he becomes apoplectic: "An ancient wood for a service station.  What sort of sick exchange is that?" Read more...

What the bees see .......

What the bees see …….

by Chris ~ 25 October, 2017 ~ one comment

Flower-visiting insects evolved in the Cretaceous Period (about 100 million years ago) -  a time when the major flower groups (Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons) came into being.  Flowers have a number of “ploys’ to encourage pollinators to visit them - for example, by their colour, scent, reflectance, size, outline, temperature, motion and nectar guides. The latter are markings or patterns on the petals and floral parts to guide bees, bumblebees or other pollinators towards the nectar and to encourage pollination.  This link (click here) shows how a flower might appear to a bee or butterfly - due their sensitivity to U.V light. Read more...

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