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Tree planting again .....

Tree planting again …..

by Angus ~ 23 October, 2020 ~ one comment

The woodland’s blog has reported on various tree planting initiatives, particularly that presented by the CCC (Committee on Climate change).  This Committee has called for some 1.5 billion new trees to be planted by 2050.   This would require approximately 30,000 hectares of land to be planted each year.  If this were to happen, it would increase Britain’s forest / woodland cover from 13% to 19%; probably the highest level since Roman times.  Sir Harry Studholme, the outgoing chairman of the Forestry Commission has said that such a target is achievable but has urged caution so that mistakes of the past are not repeated. 

Read more...

Buying a woodland through a SIPP - Self-Invested Personal Pension.

Buying a woodland through a SIPP – Self-Invested Personal Pension.

by woodlands blogs ~ 30 September, 2020 ~ 5 comments

Buying a woodland through a SIPP

I thought it would be helpful to share my practical experience buying a Woodland through a SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension).   This is definitely possible and reasonably straightforward once you understand the steps that need to be followed. There are however cost implications which make it much more expensive than buying with cash on hand. But it does mean you can use your pension funds and costs can mostly be covered using pension funds. Read more...

solar oven

Solar ovens and woodland cooking

by Angus ~ 21 August, 2020 ~ one comment

I couldn't get the gears on my bike to work so instead of going out I decided to make a cup of tea.  It may seem cumbersome but to make the tea I wheeled out my new solar oven, which is a large parabolic dish and once it's angled it towards the sun, its rays get concentrated onto the saucepan of water.  Actually as I write this, I'm drinking the tea made from water boiled by the said solar oven.  Like campfire tea it tastes especially nice - one enjoys it even more from knowing that it's made with renewable energy.

Our solar cooker only arrived last week and my son and I constructed it in about an hour.  The instructions were only in Chinese so some guesswork was involved and as with constructing IKEA furniture there were bits that had to be undone and turned around in the process.  We put together the six sections of the parabolic dish and then constructed the metal frame which goes on three wheels for moving it around easily. Read more...

PV Panels and Solar Farms boost wildlife

PV Panels and Solar Farms boost wildlife

by Angus ~ 18 July, 2020 ~ 3 comments

When we applied for permission to build a solar farm in West Sussex the planners initially worried about the impact on wildlife and insisted that we do surveys of the bats and newts, but in practice the solar panels, now installed there, have created a haven for wildlife.  

Several surprising facts struck me as I walked amongst the PV panels: Read more...

Greenwash - are the public being bamboozled?

Greenwash – are the public being bamboozled?

by Angus ~ 26 February, 2020 ~ comments welcome

Greenwashing is when a company spends more effort on saying how environmentally friendly they are rather than actually reducing the environmental damage they do.  Examples could include the recent claims made by Easyjet that they are already carbon neutral or the target by BP to become carbon neutral by 2050.  The Easyjet claim smells a bit like like fake news but at least they have pledged to spend £25 million over the next year on offsetting their carbon emissions - it's hard to see how even that can compensate for their 331 planes flying around the world 24/7.  BP's claim is easier to make because it's only a target for the year 2050 - "it's easy to write a cheque if you know it won't be cashed for 30 years" and, in any case, it's rather unlikely that the current board will be in place in 30 years' time.  So, putting aside these particular claims, why do big companies engage in such extravagant claims, and are they really just greenwash? Read more...

Unusual or exotic trees : Mesquite.

Unusual or exotic trees : Mesquite.

by Lewis ~ 24 January, 2020 ~ comments welcome

Mesquite is the name given to a number of leguminous shrubs or trees that belong to the genus Prosopis. Many of these plants are native to southern parts of the United  States and Mexico, though one species is native to South America - Argentina. Generally, they are plants of very dry (arid or xeric) regions.  They have the capacity to form very long, deep roots that seek water deep underground.

The trees / shrubs are deciduous and their leaves are pinnate (a compound form of leaf); they are also thorny.  The trees produce flowers through Spring and Summer, and the seeds (beans) form in pods.  The trees can be used as a source of timber (for furniture, and in the past ship building). Read more...

another abandoned Christmas Tree

The fate of Christmas trees

by Angus ~ 3 January, 2020 ~ comments welcome

There is considerable debate as to the virtues or otherwise of buying a real Christmas tree over an artificial one.  This comes into focus somewhat more sharply in the post-Christmas period.  

A  6 to 7 foot high natural tree (bought with no roots) would be between ten to fifteen years old and it has a fairly low carbon footprint.   As it has been growing, it has been absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and locking it away in the form of cellulose and lignin, whilst releasing oxygen.  However, this footprint changes dramatically if its fate is to be consigned to land fill.   As it decomposes, it will produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas and the carbon footprint of the tree will increase quite dramatically.   If, however, the tree is carefully composted, then its environmental impact can remain relatively low (visit the Carbon Trust for detail).  

The cultivation and growth of natural Christmas trees provides a wildlife habitat, and the trees help stabilise and protect soil.  But in some parts of the world, notably Canada and the USA, the growth and supply of Christmas trees has been affected by heatwaves (as in Oregon in 2017 / 2018 - which killed many very young trees), insect damage and wildfires. The effects of climate change are particularly marked in Canada.  It may be that climate change will intensify the effect of these factors, and that Christmas tree ‘farms’ may need to move to higher elevations - where it is cooler and insect pests (e.g. balsam twig aphid) are less of a problem.  Read more...

a problem with methane

a problem with methane

by Chris ~ 11 October, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Radiant energy from the sun falls on the Earth; some of this energy is absorbed by the planet and its atmosphere.  Some of the energy is radiated back into space.  The balance between the absorbed and radiated energy determines global temperature.  This balance is changed by a number of factors - the intensity of the solar energy, cloud reflectivity, the absorption of energy by various gases or surfaces.

The reflectivity of the Earth’s surface  (the albedo) influences the amount of light energy that is reflected back into space. Snow has a high albedo, that is, it reflects much of the light back out into space.  Dark objects (like conifer plantations) reflect less light / radiation and absorb more thereby trapping heat that would otherwise be reflected back into space. The amount of energy that is ‘retained’ is also influenced by the presence of particular gases in the atmosphere - the so-called 'greenhouse gases', notably carbon dioxide and methane.  The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased dramatically from 280 ppm during the 10,000 years up to the mid-18th century to 415 ppm (as of 2019).  This increase has certainly contributed to the changes in climate that we have witnessed in recent years - extreme weather events such as heat waves and flooding.   Read more...

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