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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 ~ 2 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 ~ one comment

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…

More productive forestry trees (and Dr Steve Lee).

More productive forestry trees (and Dr Steve Lee).

by Angus ~ 24 November, 2016 ~ comments welcome

Since 1960 commercial trees in the UK have become about 25% more productive.  This has been achieved through selective breeding, mostly of Sitka Spruce and Scots pine where plants have been chosen for their rapid growth.  It has also led to better quality timber which produces more sawlogs.  Unfortunately according to the Forestry Commission’s Steve Lee, no similar effort has been made with broadleaved trees so they have suffered a relative disadvantage compared to the progress with conifers.  He says, “We dropped tree selection for broadleaved trees in the 1960s because it was thought to be not worthwhile.”

Read more…

National-Tree-Week-poster-2016.jpg

National Tree Week, 2016

by Lewis ~ 19 November, 2016 ~ comments welcome

National Tree Week is approaching;  it is organised by The Tree Council.  This year, it runs from the 26th November to the 4th December.  This year’s poster for the week is the headline image (opposite) *. The main aim of the week is to encourage the planting of trees.  Tree planting is important as many of our trees are now under threat, for example, bleeding canker and the leaf miner moth can attack Horse Chestnut, whilst the Ash is succumbing to Ash Dieback (Chalara). Read more…

The mediterranean cypress and forest fires.

The mediterranean cypress and forest fires.

by Chris ~ 7 October, 2016 ~ comments welcome

According the United Nations FAO, some two million hectares of forest were burnt in the Mediterranean region, between 2006 and 2010.  Most of these fires were ‘human induced’; they (the fires) are the most frequent cause of degradation / loss of forest / woodland in this region.  In 2012, a fire swept through some 20,000 hectares of forest near Andilla (Valencia).   After the fire, it was found that though oaks, holm oaks, pines and junipers had been completely burnt, the vast majority (98% +) of the Mediterranean Cypresses were still standing, tall and green.   There followed a three year study of the fire resilience of the Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens var horizontalis) to see if stands of these trees might function as buffer zones to hinder or prevent the spread of forest fires. Read more…

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