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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...

Unusual or exotic trees : the Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani)

Unusual or exotic trees : the Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani)

by Chris ~ 14 June, 2017 ~ comments welcome

The Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) is widely planted as an ornamental tree in parks and the gardens of stately homes.  However, it is native to the mountains of the Eastern Mediterranean.  These trees were used by the Phoenicians in the building of their ships, used in the construction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and the tree’s resin was used by the Egyptians in the process of mummification.  Cedar wood is valued for its durability, grain, colour and fragrance; it is also a source of cedria (cedar resin) and cedrum (cedar essential oil). Read more...

A threat to bluebells ?

A threat to bluebells ?

by Chris ~ 3 April, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Spring brings a variety of blue flowered plants such as bluebells, hyacinths and squills in our woodlands, parks and gardens.  Bluebells are ‘easily’ recognisable. However, there are different types of bluebells. The bluebell that is native to the UK has the Latin or Linnaean name of Hyacinthoides non scripta.  The Spanish bluebell (H. hispanica) is also to be found, and this hybridises with the native form,  giving rise to intermediate types.

The native bluebell has deep blue and scented flowers that hang from an elegantly arching stem. It is found in abundance in many deciduous woodlands and hedgerows across the UK, though it is unusual or rarer in parts of East Anglia and Scotland.  The capacity of the Spanish Bluebell to hybridise with the native form has been seen as a threat to the native Bluebell - but now another concern has been ‘identified’. Read more...

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