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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...

"The Fight for Beauty" - Fiona Reynolds' book on the British countryside

“The Fight for Beauty” – Fiona Reynolds’ book on the British countryside

by Angus ~ 13 April, 2017 ~ one comment

"People will only protect what they care about, and they will only care about what they have experienced" according to David Attenborough.  On this basis, Fiona Reynolds argues that we need to help the public to have easy access to the British countryside and to do conservation in a hands-on way rather than leave it all to professionals.  We must help people touch and feel trees and woodlands if we want them to be valued.

"The Fight for Beauty" is a 320 page book containing a magnificent account of the efforts to preserve British landscape, species and habitats in the 60 years after the war but as Reynolds admits it is still true that, "nature protection remains weak" and habitat loss has been severe as we continue to witness the sixth mass extinction eventRead 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."


Hedgerow loss.

Hedgerow loss.

by Lewis ~ 28 October, 2016 ~ 4 comments

Much has been written about the loss of hedges / hedgerows over the last fifty to seventy years; one important work was   “Hedges(1974) in the New Naturalist Series by Pollard, Hooper and Moore.  They suggested that hedgerows were lost perhaps at a rate of some 3,000 miles per year in the immediate post-war period (1946 - 63).   In the 1950’s, the Forestry Commission suggested that there was one million kilometres of hedgerow (in the U.K).   In 2007, The Countryside Commission Survey estimated that there was some 477,00 kilometres of hedgerow -  suggesting that there had been a halving of hedgerows in the countryside.  Read more...

A brief history of the Forestry Commission

A brief history of the Forestry Commission

by Peter ~ 18 January, 2015 ~ 3 comments

The Forestry Commission was set up shortly after the First World War to replenish forests and woodlands after felling during that war. At the beginning of the 20th Century the UK’s woodland coverage was at an all time low – just 5 per cent of total land area. The Acland Committee reported to Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, in 1918 that state organisation would be the most effective way to bring about reafforestation and plan for the future of British woodland. Thus, the Forestry Commission was set up and began to buy land and plant on it. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the Forestry Commission voraciously bought land, which by 1934 totalled over 900,000 acres. Read more...

Stick and flick, a possible solution to dog mess in woodlands?

Stick and flick, a possible solution to dog mess in woodlands?

by Angus ~ 13 December, 2013 ~ 18 comments

Dog mess has been a long-term problem in woodlands. As dog owners have been forced to clean up after their dogs in parks and streets over the last 15 years or so they have not always been so good at "picking up" in public woodlands or on footpaths in private woodlands. This could be because dog owners don't feel a need to clear up in "the great outdoors" or it could be that some people feel they are not being watched and can "get away with" leaving the dog's doings. A more charitable view is that in woodlands people leave their dogs to roam more widely and dog mess * left without the owner seeing what has been done or indeed exactly where it was done. Read more...

Autumnal colours and leaves of gold.

Autumnal colours and leaves of gold.

by Chris ~ 27 October, 2013 ~ one comment

At this time of year, the pigments (xanthopylls, anthocyanins and carotenoids) in the leaves of deciduous plants break down giving the colours of the Fall.  These colours are particularly obvious in trees (like the Maples) in New England, on the East Coast of America – and they attract many vistors .

However, our trees and woods also offer impressive displays of colour and you can find your nearest wood (for autumnal colour) by visiting the Forestry Commission websiteRead more...

What's happening in the market for commercial woodlands?

What’s happening in the market for commercial woodlands?

by Angus ~ 6 December, 2012 ~ one comment

Every year Tilhill produce a report on the state of the forestry market and this was just launched. What their Forest Market Report 2012 shows is that UK forestry is dominated by Scotland where about 3/4 of transactions by value take place and the market is currently very buoyant - so much so that the average selling price in 2012 was almost double the average guide price. Even for these larger conifer woodlands the price reached about £6,500 per hectare. According to the Tilhill figures the average size of woods that come to the forestry market in Scotland is 157 acres (387 acres) whereas in Wales it is much smaller at only 66 hectares (163 acres). The report calculates that over the last 10 years average forestry values have gone up steeply and have increased by almost 17% per year. Read more...

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