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2nd Eden Valley Scout Camp

2nd Eden Valley Scout Camp

by Harry ~ 25 June, 2016 ~ comments welcome

The weather was glorious, bags were packed, all provisions were bought and it looked like everything was set up for a great Scout Camp in the Rowbank Woods. And 2nd Eden Valley Scouts were not to be disappointed; the camp was set in idyllic woodland that was ideal for slinging hammocks, playing games, learning about the flora and fauna of the area, cooking marshmallows and having a good ‘crack’ (Cumbrian term for talking)! Read more…

New Welsh grant - Glastir Small Grants Scheme to open

New Welsh grant – Glastir Small Grants Scheme to open

by Chris Colley ~ 21 June, 2016 ~ 2 comments

After a considerable period during which only woodland creation grants have been available, a new opportunity to apply for woodland grants has been announced in Wales.  The Small Grants Scheme offers grants of up to £5,000 per customer for capital works which reduce carbon emissions, improve water quality, reduce flood risks and increase Wales’ native biodiversity. Read more…

Electric bumblebees

Electric bumblebees

by Chris ~ 15 June, 2016 ~ comments welcome

Flowers have various ways of tempting pollinating insects to visit them.  Indeed, some have very complex mechanisms to promote pollination and fertilisation, for example, the bee orchid.  In order to attract pollinating bees, the orchid has evolved “bee-look-alike” flowers.  These draw the bees in with the “promise of sex”.  They attempt to mate with the flower, landing on the velvety lip of the flower and pollen is transferred.  The bee leaves ‘frustrated’.  However, the right species of bee doesn’t live in the U.K., so here bee orchids self-pollinate. Read more…

How could the Good Judgement Project help with managing woodlands?

How could the Good Judgement Project help with managing woodlands?

by Angus ~ 10 June, 2016 ~ comments welcome

If you manage a woodland you must be making forecasts about the future.  You are probably predicting how your interventions, such as tree-planting or creating clearings will work out for wildlife and timber production in the years ahead.  But how good are we are forecasting the effects of our actions and how could we get better at it?  In the last few years a “Good Judgement Project” group led by Philip Tetlock at the University of Pennsylvania has been finding out scientifically how we can make more accurate predictions.  Read more…

Is visiting a woodland mainly about getting away from the crowd?

Is visiting a woodland mainly about getting away from the crowd?

by Angus ~ 2 June, 2016 ~ comments welcome

Stone age man would not have come across many other people.  Possibly,  a couple of hundred in total.  I was once told by the geneticist, Steve Jones, that in his visit to central London he had seen more people on one day than an ancient man would have met in the course of his entire existence.  Our ‘stone age’ man would have come across more trees in his life than we will,  so perhaps there is a balance between encounters with fellow men and with nature that modern life has turned upside down.  Many people are said to be suffering from nature deficiency and this could be contributing to stress and anxiety.   Read more…

Drought and trees

Drought and trees

by Chris ~ 28 May, 2016 ~ comments welcome

Climate change is now a fact of life and one aspect of this is the occurrence of more extreme weather events.  These can take the form of high winds / hurricanes, extended periods of heavy rainfall or conversely periods of drought.  Clearly extreme weather can affect all ecosystems; woodlands and forests are no exceptions.   Consequently in recent years, a number of organisations have been looking at different tree species in order to understand more about drought resistance (or the ability to withstand prolonged flooding – when the roots are deprived of oxygen).

INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) has been looking at a small tree of the cypress Family (Cupressaceae) – Callitris tuberculata.   This grows as a small evergreen tree or shrub in Western Australia.  It can survive extreme drought and has been described as “the most drought resistant tree in the world”. Read more…

"Warming conifers"

“Warming conifers”

by Chris ~ 22 May, 2016 ~ comments welcome

Mature woodlands and forests populated with deciduous trees remove significant quantities of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere, locking it up in complex organic carbon compounds – such as starch, cellulose and lignin.  Such compounds add to the biomass of the trees.  However, come the Autumn deciduous trees shed their leaves, and in Autumn and Winter winds break off branches and twigs.  These dead leaves and twigs etc contribute to the ‘litter’ on the woodland floor and the humus in the soil.   This material represents a vast source of ‘locked up carbon’. Read more…

Refuges for wildlife

Refuges for wildlife

by Angus ~ 20 May, 2016 ~ 2 comments

Visiting a woodland recently I noticed the messiness of some piles of old tyres and how they didn’t seem to fit in well with an ethos of conservation.  The manager explained that the tyres are used by small mammals such as mice and voles and they are full of interesting wildlife.  Challenged to find a lizard on a sunny day, I picked through the tyres and found several, one of which was obliging enough to be photographed.  Tyres represent a habitat for small mammals and reptiles that gives protection from the weather but also from predators.  Also water gathers in the bottom of some of them and the puddles are useful for these animals. Read more…

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