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Plants, fungi and rising levels of carbon dioxide

Plants, fungi and rising levels of carbon dioxide

by Chris ~ 23 September, 2016 ~ comments welcome

It is a fact that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising.   It has been monitored since 1956 at the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) in Hawaii.   Mauna Loa was originally chosen as a carbon dioxide monitoring site because it is located far from any continent and offers a good average value for the air over the central Pacific.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important trace gas in the Earth’s atmosphere; its current level is about 400 parts per million (ppm).   Despite its relatively low concentration, CO2 is a significant greenhouse gas.   Read more…

Moorland, heather and bees

Moorland, heather and bees

by David R C ~ 17 September, 2016 ~ one comment

What’s so special about heather moorland to beekeepers?  Heather is a small plant known scientifically as Calluna vulgaris, or more commonly ling heather.  As the beekeeping season is winding down elsewhere, the small purple flowers that are a characteristic feature of moorland’s stunning scenery are just opening.  The nectar they produce results in a highly sought after and delicious honey, making it worth all the hard work (both on the part of the bees and the beekeeper) that goes into producing it. Read more…

Woodland moths and butterflies.

Woodland moths and butterflies.

by Lewis ~ 9 September, 2016 ~ comments welcome

There are many types of woodland, which may be broadly categorised by the dominant type of tree(s) – thus there is, birch woodland, oak woodland, beech woodland etc.  The flora and fauna of these different types of woodland varies though there can be similarities.  Some species, such as brambles and ivy can live in a variety of conditions whilst other plants / animals have very specific requirements.

This is certainly true for various animal species – for example, butterflies and moths. For example, the Brimstone (a pale yellow butterfly) has larvae (caterpillars) that need to feed Read more…

field bindweed

Some images of Spring and Summer

by Lewis ~ 8 September, 2016 ~ comments welcome

Simply some images taken earlier – in Spring or Summer.

Read more…

Bees, oilseed rape and foraging

Bees, oilseed rape and foraging

by Chris ~ 2 September, 2016 ~ comments welcome

The woodlands’ blog has often reported on the problems that face honey bees and bumblebees – our important pollinators (see the list of related blogs in the right hand column on this page). Now there is an important report from the CEH (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) that has looked at the state of the populations of wild bees such as the furrow bee, mason bee.

Most research to date has focused on the effect of insecticides, particularly the neonicotinoids on the  behaviour of  honey bees and bumblebees.   However, the CEH team was able to use data that had been collected by the bees, wasps and ants recording scheme – their data extended back to 1994 and involved some 62 species.   Read more…

Bud burst and street lights.

Bud burst and street lights.

by Lewis ~ 24 August, 2016 ~ 2 comments

Street lighting may make our roads and homes safer places, but it also contributes to light pollution.  The bright lights of towns and cities make it difficult for us to see the stars and constellations in the night skies.  In places, the ‘warm yellow’ glow of street lights is being replaced with the white light of LEDs,  the benefits of LED lights include energy savings plus an increased life time as compared to conventional lights. However, when compared to older street lamps they emit more  blue light increases.   Some think that this blue light can suppress the production of melatonin ; this is involved in the regulation of our circadian rhythms – particularly our sleep patterns. Read more…

Unusual or exotic trees -Ginkgo  biloba

Unusual or exotic trees -Ginkgo biloba

by Chris ~ 18 August, 2016 ~ 2 comments

The maidenhair tree is otherwise known as Ginkgo biloba, or just Gingko is native to China, but is widely cultivated through the world.  The name Ginkgo may be derived from a misspelling of the Japanese Gin kyo or silver apricot – referring to form of its fruit.   The biloba part of the name refers the two lobed form of the tree’s leaves.   Ginkgo is a dioecious species, that is to say, there are separate male and female trees.   The female tree produces quite large seeds within a yellow brown soft fruit like structure.  Though attractive in appearance, it has a a rancid smell. Read more…

Woodland tracks and paths

Woodland tracks and paths

by Angus ~ 14 August, 2016 ~ 2 comments

Tracks and paths are an amazingly important element of any woodland – they are the arteries along which management tasks will be done and the viewing points from which you will see what’s happening in your forest.  Usually owners just live with the tracks that have been there for decades, perhaps even hundreds of years, but you can vary the routes or even build new tracks.  Woodland tracks are also often called “rides“, presumably because they would have been maintained in order to ride around the woodland on horseback.

In creating and maintaining tracks, the key variables are – the soil type, the slope and the tree coverRead more…

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