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Białowieża- “a national treasure for Poland and an international treasure for us all”

by Lewis ~ 19 March, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Białowieża is a forested area that lies on the border of Poland and Belarus.  It includes some 1500 sq km of some of the tallest trees to be found in Europe, including towering hornbeams.  It is a species-rich area, with carnivores such a lynx and wolves, 120 bird species (including the three toed woodpecker and pygmy owl), 60+ mammal species including the bison!  The area has been described as a “national treasure for Poland and an international treasure for us all”.

The tracts of forest are special as they have never been felled, though it would be wrong to think of the woodland as ‘primaeval’  like the original ‘wildwood’. The woodland / forest supports a community through tourism, timber, hunting, honey and mushrooms, not to mention scientific researchers and the staff associated with the National Park.  However, only 105 square km of the forest has been designated as National Park or a Unesco Heritage Site. Read more…

Woodlands and Forests in the Netherlands

Woodlands and Forests in the Netherlands

by Lewis ~ 15 March, 2017 ~ comments welcome

(The % of land covered by woodland or forests varies tremendously from country to country – throughout Europe.   The nordic countries such as Norway and Sweden, have large forests and therefore a high % cover, but others such as the U.K., Ireland and the Netherlands are amongst the least ‘wooded’.

At present, the % woodland in the Netherlands is about 11%.  In part, this is due to the fact that the Netherlands is Europe’s most densely populated country (with 394 people per square kilometer).  There is a network of small and medium sized cities spread across the country; much of the land is used for agriculture.  However, the State Forestry Commision has developed a (3 billion euro) plan to increase the country’s wooded / forested areas by some 100,000 hectares. Read more…

Trees and flood mitigation

Trees and flood mitigation

by Chris ~ 10 March, 2017 ~ comments welcome

With the changing nature of our climate, so extreme events have become more frequent.  The last fifteen or so years has seen significant episodes of flooding.  Flooding used to be a relatively unusual event in the U.K.   In consequence,  efforts are now being directed at finding ways of mitigating the effects of extreme rainfall.

The risk of flooding is associated with changes in our climate (notably rainfall patterns) and the techniques of land management have changed with the mechanisation of agriculture,  the creation of simplified (larger) field systems, land drainage, increased stock densities etc.  The U.K. landscape / countryside has altered significantly over the last fifty years.   Read more…

Sheffield - the battleground for those who care about street trees and woodlands

Sheffield – the battleground for those who care about street trees and woodlands

by Angus ~ 15 February, 2017 ~ 5 comments

Whilst Sheffield is renowned for its woodlands near to the city centre and its 36,000 street trees, it has now become the scene of conflict over their future.  A dozen people have now been arrested and the authorities have acted in ways that seem fairly heavy-handed.  Two older ladies each about 70 years old (Jenny Hockey and Freda Brayshaw) were arrested when they protested against the tree-massacre. They weren’t actually charged, but others have been.

The battle over Sheffield’s trees all started when the City Council signed an agreement with Amey to manage some of their infrastructure, although the terms in the 7,000 page agreement are secret.   As it contains commercially sensitive information Sheffield Council are not revealing the full contents of the 2012 PFI deal (Private Finance Initiative) and even some of those defending it haven’t read the whole document. Read more…

Buying a woodland in a SIPP

Buying a woodland in a SIPP

by Andy ~ 17 January, 2017 ~ 2 comments

A while ago I came across an article on the Woodlands.co.uk website about buying a woodland in a SIPP and I thought it too good an opportunity to miss.

Having recently successfully completed the process I thought it might be useful to share my experience with others who may be thinking about it. It’s worth knowing up front that although it is a relatively simple process, it is a bit more long-winded than purchasing with cash and there are a few more considerations to take into account. Here are the steps I went through:

Read more…

Woodlands, climate and robustness.

Woodlands, climate and robustness.

by Lewis ~ 13 January, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Climate change is a fact, though not one always accepted by certain politicians.   Greenhouse gas emissions have been growing since the C18th, and particularly in the period 1970 – 2004.   The warming of the world climate system is certain; air and ocean temperatures have increased.  

Though we cannot say how climate will change in any specific area with certainty, we can be sure that extreme weather events will become more common – droughts, heat waves, heavy rainfall, high winds and cyclones. Read more…

10 reasons to buy a woodland in 2017

10 reasons to buy a woodland in 2017

by Angus ~ 31 December, 2016 ~ 3 comments

2017 could be the right year to take the plunge into woodland ownership:

1.  Money in the bank continues to yield virtually nothing, so putting some of your savings into a woodland means having an investment that you can actually enjoy;

2.  Like it or not, 2017 will be the year of Donald Trump and the uncertainty and apprehension that this brings.  In an uncertain world, having a wood of your own which you can escape to is a great reassurance;

3.  A recent survey showed that teenagers with smart phones check them on average 150 times a day: a woodland is an antidote to overdosing on screen time.  Your children or grandchildren may be suffering a “nature deficit” and being able to visit a woodland is a good way to make up this shortfall and help them grow up more healthily;

Read more…

emergent seedling

Trees, seeds and the Millennium Seed Bank.

by Chris ~ 2 December, 2016 ~ comments welcome

Plants are vital to all food chains, to our existence.  They provide foods (rice, wheat, peas, beans), building materials (timber), fibres for clothing (cotton), medicines (aspirin, quinine etc) and fuel (oils, biomass). However, habitats are being rapidly destroyed by activities such as agriculture, deforestation, road building and urban developments.  This habitat loss is happening rapidly and conserving plants within threatened habitats is not always possible.

Collecting seeds and preserving them ex situ (away from their natural habitat) offers a cost effective way to save seeds and keep them for posterity. Later, and if, required they can be germinated (hopefully) and reintroduced to the wild,  or used in scientific research.  The Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) – which is based at Wakehurst Place in Sussex, Read more…

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