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Annual rings, drought and climate change.

Annual rings, drought and climate change.

by Chris ~ 28 September, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Research workers in the States and Germany have been investigating the effect of drought on the subsequent growth of various types of trees.  Because of climate change, droughts are expected to increase in frequency and severity.

The workers in the States found that trees took between two and four years to recover from drought and resume ‘normal’ growth.

The reduction in growth could be due to Read more...

Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna)

Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna)

by Chris ~ 13 September, 2017 ~ 2 comments

Deadly nightshade belongs to the same family as the potato, the tomato, aubergines (aka eggplants) and chilli peppers - the Solanaceae.  It has a number of common names such as belladonna, devil’s berries or death cherries.  Deadly nightshade is found throughout southern and central Europe but it has been introduced and cultivated outside this area. For example, it was recorded (in 1870) as growing in the apothecary gardens at Malmo in southern Sweden (as recorded in the Flora of Skåne).  In some parts of the world, it has become something of a pest. Read more...

The Monthly Mushroom - Chicken of the Woods

The Monthly Mushroom – Chicken of the Woods

by Jasper ~ 7 September, 2017 ~ one comment

It might not be much to look at, but Laetiporus sulphureus sure tastes good on a plate. A relatively common adornment to many a tree in Summer and early Autumn, the legendary Chicken of the Woods is one of the tastiest edible mushrooms found in the UK, and also one of the most highly prized: as the name suggests, it has the taste and texture of chicken, and its firm flesh makes an ideal substitute in stews, stroganoffs, curries, pilaffs and other meat dishes.

Easily overlooked by those not in the know, it is instantly recognisable to the gourmet fungi forager, and bares little resemblance to other poultry-named fungi like the Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) or the Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), the Japanese delicacy known as maitake. It is a bracket fungus that grows in large clusters of undulating fan-shaped shelves, the colour ranging from bright yellow to orange on its topside (hence the alternate common name Sulphur Shelf), with its yellowish underside pitted with pores from which it releases its spores and a firm white fleshy interior. Read more...

Bumblebees - 'neonics' further evidence.

Bumblebees – ‘neonics’ further evidence.

by Chris ~ 3 September, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Back in 2013, the EU imposed a temporary ban on the use of neonicotinoids on flowering crops.  This was as a result of claims that nicotine related chemicals had a significant effect on the physiology and behaviour of pollinators - particularly honey bees.   The ban remains in place whilst a review of these chemicals takes place.

Further evidence of the effects of neonicotinoids (other than that already reported in the woodlands’ blog) comes from the research work of Professor Raine * (of the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada) and co-workers.  Read more...

Iceland's missing woodland and forest.

Iceland’s missing woodland and forest.

by Lewis ~ 1 September, 2017 ~ one comment

Some ten to fifteen million years ago, Iceland supported forests and woodlands of Redwoods (Sequoia), Magnolia and Sassafras.   The presence of such species suggests that at this time the climate was warm and temperate.  Later, in the Pliocene period, evidence from pollen studies, suggest that Pines, Larch, Birch and Alder had come to dominate; species that are associated with Boreal Forest - so the climate had cooled considerably.

There then followed the glaciations of the Pleistocene (often simply referred to as the Ice Age) - a geological epoch which lasted from about 2,500,000 to 12,000 years ago.  Glaciers marched across the surface of the Earth, but retreated in the warmer inter-glacial periods. Read more...

"Trump Forest"

“Trump Forest”

by Lewis ~ 27 August, 2017 ~ 2 comments

President Trump is concerned that the Paris Climate Agreement will damage the U.S economy, cost jobs and offer a competitive advantage to Countries such as China and India.  In consequence, he has said that the United States will leave the Paris Climate Agreement and he has also ordered a review of ‘climate regulations’ legacy from the Obama administration.   The effect of these policies will be the release of greater quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - which will further exacerbate global warming and climate change.

A New Zealand based organisation called Trump Forest wants to offset the extra CO2 emissions Read more...

Russian Forestry and Siberian pine.

Russian Forestry and Siberian pine.

by Angus ~ 20 August, 2017 ~ one comment

Siberia is a huge geographical expanse and contains about a fifth of the world’s wood reserves.  On a recent trip through Russia and Siberia, I saw first-hand what an enormous resource forestry is for Russia, representing almost half its land area.  Most of it is naturally occurring forest, or Taiga, which hasn’t been planted and regenerates quite well after harvesting.

The large cities in Siberia represent the heart of the Russian forestry business - cities like Arkangel, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Ust-Ilim, though the sheer size of the region makes transport and logistics difficult; Russia is the biggest country in the world by land area and has numerous adjoining neighbours.  One of the main arteries for extracting timber is the trans-Siberian railway which takes timber to Europe and the east (China buys 20% of Russia’s output). Read more...

Another threat to bees - the Asian hornet.

Another threat to bees – the Asian hornet.

by Chris ~ 16 August, 2017 ~ comments welcome

There is a now a species alert for the Asian or Yellow legged hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax). It is an invasive, non-native species from Asia.  It feeds on honey bees and other beneficial insects such as hover flies and bumble bees.  The hornet hovers outside bee hives, waiting to catch and then kill bees as they return from foraging. It can cause significant losses to bee colonies / hives.

Indeed Professor Matt Keeling has predicted that if nests of the asian hornet are left to thrive in the U.K. then within two decades British populations of honey bees will be at risk. Read more...

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