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Robustness and the resilience of woodlands.

Robustness and the resilience of woodlands.

by Lewis ~ 28 September, 2018 ~ 2 comments

Over the centuries, our woodlands have experienced (to a degree) a relatively stable environment - both in terms of climate and biological ‘incursions’.  There have been occasional ‘perturbations’ some climate or weather related - such as the Great Storm of 1987 and some biological such as Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970’s.

Our woodlands have been managed largely on the basis of this stability - a relatively constant biological and physical environment.  However now, climate change is an established fact and the number of biological threats to our native flora and fauna has increased significantly in recent times.   Climate change has seen the advance of Spring and more ‘extreme weather’ [for example, drought, high winds] plus the large scale movement / importation of trees, timber and plants from many different parts of the world has lead to the introduction of various pathogens and pests.  Read more...

Bumblebee update - brief notes

Bumblebee update – brief notes

by Chris ~ 28 August, 2018 ~ comments welcome

The yellow banded bumblebee (Bombus terricola) is a North American species of bumblebee.  It has been in decline across its range.  This bumblebee is now down to about 10% of its former numbers.   Recently, its genome has been sequenced at York University, Canada.  This genetic analysis shows that the bumblebees are inbreeding.  As bees become more inbred, the face difficulties in maintaining their population numbers.  As population become smaller, there is a greater risk of inbreeding.  Inbred bees have problems in terms of fertility.  Males can become infertile so that if they mate with a queen, there are no offspring or the queen may produce sterile males instead of worker bees. Read more...

The onward march of the bark beetles

The onward march of the bark beetles

by Chris ~ 5 August, 2018 ~ one comment

The woodlands blog has previously reported on the havoc being wreaked by bark beetles.  Such beetles may be small (about half a centimetre in length) but their effects on the western forests of North America is colossal - indeed some parts have lost 90% of their conifers.   Outbreaks of these beetles have been increasing in size and severity.

The beetles onward march was generally kept in check by long and cold winters, but with warmer temperatures (especially in the winter months) and a longer season for reproduction bark beetle populations have been gaining ground, even making their way into parts of the boreal forest of North America. Read more...

Fires and climate change

Fires and climate change

by Chris ~ 17 July, 2018 ~ comments welcome

The recent hot spell has seen a number of fires, not only in the UK but across the world (Arizona , Victoria Australia, Indonesia).  Spells of extreme heat (and drought) have been known throughout history but it would seem that with climate change / global warming extreme events have become more common.   Data show that the years of the 21st century are among the warmest on record - global air temperatures have risen by 1oC since the industrial revolution.

Extreme temperatures have been recorded in many places across the globe.   Ouargla in Algeria soared to 124.3o F (51.3oC), Denver recorded at temperature of 105o F, Montreal recorded 97.9o F, Glasgow hit 89.4o F, Shannon in Ireland reached 89.6o F, Tbilisi (Georgia) soared to 104.9o F and parts of Pakistan are reported to have reached 50oC.   No record by itself can be ascribed to global warming but these and many other records across the globe are consistent with the extremes that can now be expected (more often) in a world that is warming - as atmospheric greenhouse gas levels increase due to human activity (we have entered the anthropocene).

Hot and dry conditions mean that plant material can dry out quickly, so that a thicker layer of pant material / litter is formed - which provides significant fuel for fires.   Studies of some areas suggest that the increased Winter and Spring rainfall (again associated with climate change) encourages plant growth, creating more material for fires (when dry conditions obtain later in the year). Read more...

What do woodland owners think about British Forestry?

What do woodland owners think about British Forestry?

by Angus ~ 16 March, 2018 ~ comments welcome

Gabriel Hemery of Sylva.org.uk is a researcher and entrepreneur in the British Woodlands sector.  He just announced the results of his British Woodlands Survey 2017 (BWS) where he asked hundreds of woodland owners how they see the future of their woods.  The survey covered 1.5 million acres of woodland - about a fifth of the UK wooded area and included forestry agents as well as 660 owners and looked at biodiversity, biosecurity, social attitudes and woodland creation.  The report is entitled, "Shaping the Future of Forestry".

Most striking was that the majority of owners and agents reported making a financial loss on their woodland over the last five years.  Read more...

Trees and streams

Trees and streams

by Chris ~ 27 November, 2017 ~ comments welcome

There are some 240,000 miles of streams and rivers throughout the UK.  Streams and rivers are sensitive habitats in terms of climate change, with cold water species being particularly at risk.  Researchers (Stephen Thomas) at Cardiff University have recorded significant reductions in insect numbers in the Rivers Wye, and Tywi, and indeed one local extinction -  these are associated with our changing climate.

Trees clearly offer shade to rivers and streams and this is important in mitigating the effects of high temperatures. As water warms so the level of dissolved oxygen falls. However, trees also help the resilience of these freshwater systems Read more...

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...

"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...

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