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Bark beetles : the larger eight toothed bark beetle

Bark beetles : the larger eight toothed bark beetle

by Lewis ~ 25 June, 2019 ~ comments welcome

The woodlands’ blog has reported on outbreaks of bark beetles in the States and Canada but as of 16th January this year, measures were put in place to protect the UK from the larger eight toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus). This beetle has been a problem on continental Europe for many years; it has been estimated that Germany lost some 30 million cubic metres of timber (between 1945 and 1949) to bark beetles. Spruce is a commercially important species, with perhaps some 800,000 hectares in the UK.  On the continent, the beetle has also been found living in pine, larch and douglas firThe beetle was found in Kent last December.  The special measures restrict the movement of spruce in a 50 km area around the outbreak.  Details of this area can be found here. Read more...

shave horse

A shave horse, my kingdom for a shave horse!

by Angus ~ 20 June, 2019 ~ one comment

"Traditional bodgers and woodworkers would have spent the first day in a new woodland making their equipment such as a shave horse "explains Adrian Dennett a supplier of wood bodgers' kit.  These are stools where the craftsman (or woman) sits at one end of the 'horse' and uses a foot-controlled lever to hold their work in place.  It's remarkable how firmly this device holds the wood in position and allows the operator safely to shave down a piece of wood.

Shave horses are mostly used for green woodwork (using unseasoned wood) to make items such as spoons, kuksas (small bowls) or chair legs.  Typically they are used to hold rougher bits of wood which are being moulded into shape using a two-handed draw knife. Read more...

Planting trees - millions of them

Planting trees – millions of them

by Chris ~ 17 June, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Following the First World War, the UK’s woodland coverage was at an all time low – just 5 per cent of total land area. The Acland Committee reported to then Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, that state organisation would be the most effective way to bring about re-afforestation of the UK and plan for the future of British woodland.  

As a result, the Forestry Commission was set up and, throughout the early decades of the twentieth century, it voraciously bought up land.  The aim of the Forestry Commission was to ensure that there would be a strategic reserve of timber, so, as it acquired land, it began to plant - mainly with conifers .

Low grade’ lands (those that were less in demand for agriculture) were pressed into service such as areas around Thetford Chase and Kielder, as were some sandy coastal sites (e.g. Holkham in Norfolk Read more...

June’s Monthly Mushroom: Deer Shield mushroom (Pluteus cervinus)

June’s Monthly Mushroom: Deer Shield mushroom (Pluteus cervinus)

by Jasper Sharp ~ 14 June, 2019 ~ comments welcome

After last month’s epic two-parter on the Elder Whitewash fungus, I’m reining in my focus to something more traditionally mushroom-looking this month.     The recent combination of generally warmer temperatures coupled with the odd cooling cloudburst and resulting humidity has prompted the appearance of a number of mushroom sproutings in recent weeks, and one of my recent sightings has been the Deer Shield Mushroom (Pluteus Cervinus), which Roger Phillips’ Mushrooms and other Fungi of Great Britain & Europe says can be found from “early summer to late autumn, but also sporadically throughout the year.” I found specimens of this elegant looking species from October to mid-December last year and early May this year, so they are pretty prevalent throughout the seasons. Read more...

Trees, woodlands and methane

Trees, woodlands and methane

by Chris ~ 12 June, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Methane might be a clean fossil fuel when in a pipeline but it is second only to carbon dioxide in terms of contributing to global warming, when present in the atmosphere.  Over the last two centuries, the level of methane in the atmosphere has increased dramatically (and now stands at approximately 1800 parts per billion). Much of this increase has been linked to certain agricultural practices (farming of cattle and other ruminants, paddy fields) plus the emissions from decomposing landfill etc. 

However, recent work in a number of forested and woodland areas (for example, The Amazon, Borneo, China, Hungary etc) has suggested that the release of methane by trees is significant, and given that methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas - this has to be considered in relation to climate change.  The methane contribution from  trees has not really been considered when working out the global methane budget but it now seems that they make a contribution.   Read more...

Feed the birds …..

Feed the birds …..

by Lewis ~ 10 June, 2019 ~ one comment

In many gardens across the country, people ‘feed the birds’.  On bird tables and other structures, they put out peanuts and various ‘wild bird’ seeds, fat balls or other high energy offerings (sunflower seeds, ‘suet cakes’). Over the years, bird food and the provision of feeding stations have changed significantly. 

It has been estimated that possibly up to 60,000 tonnes of peanuts and other seeds are placed in gardens each year - a “bird-care” facility valued in millions. Read more...

"Make me something beautiful..."

“Make me something beautiful…”

by Angus ~ 7 June, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Ever since neolithic times humans have been making beads.  Gareth Riseborough is copying the methods that stone age man (and woman!) would have used to make beautiful jewellery.  By studying archeological remains and by experimenting with what works he has shown that you can use stones from your woodland, or from a beach, to create fashionable ornaments.

At the 2019 Bushcraft Show in Derbyshire Gareth showed me how he makes beads from Kimmeridge Shale which he found in Dorset on the Jurassic coastline.  Read more...

How to draw a tree - a short film from WoodlandsTV

How to draw a tree – a short film from WoodlandsTV

by Angus ~ 3 June, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Everyone wants to be able to draw better and a good place to start is by drawing a tree.  A new WoodlandsTV film teaches you how to draw a tree, or actually how to draw groups of trees.

Michele Tranquillini is a rather brilliant Italian artist who has made this tree-drawing video especially for woodlandsTV.  He shows you how to convert a line of simple circles into a row of trees, by using shadow and colour.  I particularly liked the way he animates his drawing with some birds by writing the number 3 on its side.  Read more...

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