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Woodlands and biodiversity

Woodlands and biodiversity

by Lewis ~ 29 March, 2018 ~ comments welcome

Most regard woodlands as a beautiful and important part of our countryside, and feel that they can exert a profound and positive influence on our emotional state.    Time spent wandering through the woods can have a relaxing and calming effect. Woodland only forms a small percentage of our countryside (about 13%), and some of that is dominated by conifers planted in the post-war period for timber production; however, the area covered by broad leaved trees is now increasing.    Despite this, our woodlands do harbour a wonderful variety of wildlife (think of the red squirrel, the nightingale, the dormouse) but there is concern that woodland plants and animals face a number of threats - many species are in decline.   Why is this ? Read more...

Volunteering for health and wellbeing at Tortworth arboretum

Volunteering for health and wellbeing at Tortworth arboretum

by woodlands blogs ~ 8 December, 2017 ~ comments welcome

The arboretum at Tortworth is a very special place. It has a long and interesting history and boasts some incredible exotic trees. The trees are a living history of the woodland and the family that planted it, but a few years ago the collection was at risk of decline through lack of management. That is, until 3 years ago when woodlands.co.uk purchased the woodland and the trees were given a new lease of life -  while also changing lives.   The 20 acre site is now managed by a community woodland group who are gently restoring the trees and at the same time, making a difference to people, as we hear from one of their regular volunteers.

Read more...

Oak, Ash and Thorn - new woodlands book by Peter Fiennes

Oak, Ash and Thorn – new woodlands book by Peter Fiennes

by Angus ~ 29 October, 2017 ~ one comment

Peter Fiennes immersed himself in British woodlands for a year and he dug out every literary reference to woodlands that he could and visited dozens of woodlands to appreciate their magic.  The result is an erudite and inspiring tome that is also a cry for help to preserve any ancient woodland that we haven't already destroyed. "Sell everything! Protect the land!" exclaims Peter.  He outlines a five-page action plan to protect British Woodlands which he also describes as a statement of the "bleeding obvious", including creation of more woods and visiting the woods more often.  When he joins one of the Woodland Trust's campaigns to protect an ancient woodland near Sheffield from development he becomes apoplectic: "An ancient wood for a service station.  What sort of sick exchange is that?" Read more...

Why buy a small wood?

Why buy a small wood?

by Paul Hanson ~ 23 August, 2017 ~ 5 comments

As the managing director of a professional, family owned, tree management company I took the rather self-indulgent decision to purchase a small 5 acre woodland for the business in 2016. My accountant and many others have asked why? As urban foresters, we are trained and experienced in managing trees and woodlands (less so in managing the tree owners).

The purchase of our own woodland allows us to put into place what we believe to be best practice woodland management, as we see it, without having to accommodate any third-party demands driven by a need to generate an income. Whilst not viable to operate for commercial timber production, as in investment our new woodland is perhaps better than money in the bank?

Read more...

Biotic homogenization

Biotic homogenization

by Lewis ~ 30 December, 2015 ~ comments welcome

Biotic homogenization has been defined as follows "the process by which species invasions and extinctions increase the genetic, taxonomic or functional similarity of two or more locations over a specified time interval. Biotic homogenization is now considered a distinct facet of the broader biodiversity crisis having significant ecological, evolutionary and social consequences."   Basically, it refers to an increasing similarity in the make-up of the plant communities found in different places - a bit like High Streets, each of which used to have a special character or 'signature', now it is difficult to distinguish one from another.

In many cases,  biotic homogenization involves the replacement of local floras and faunas with 'introduced species', sometimes referred to as aliens.   Examples of plants that have been introduced and spread are himalayan balsam and japanese knotweed.   Read more...

Oliver Rackham and the woodland owner

Oliver Rackham and the woodland owner

by Hope ~ 19 December, 2013 ~ one comment

Oliver Rackham has been described as 'one of the really outstanding botanical writers of our times', his work being deemed 'seminal' and his books 'meticulously researched'. Rackham has raised huge amounts of awareness for the issues faced by woodlands and the importance of their conservation. In 1998, he was awarded the OBE for services to Nature Conservation, and so Rackham's principles are in line with our own of 'conservation and enjoyment'. He has reinforced respect for woodlands and so is a key figure to know about when owning your own. Read more...

The Robin

The Robin

by Chris ~ 21 December, 2011 ~ Comments Off on The Robin

Season's Greetings.   

The robin, frequently pictured on Christmas cards,  is making something of a “come back”.  Its numbers have increased by roughly 50%, compared to when it was first recorded back in 1970.

The RSPB has suggested that milder winters and earlier Springs have contributed to its increased numbers; and it is estimated that there are now some 5 - 6  million breeding pairs of robins in the U.K.  However, its populations can be ‘knocked back’ by hard winters – such as we have experienced recently.  A small bird, such as the robin, can rapidly lose much of its body mass through a short succession of cold nights and days - burning its reserves (of fat) to generate heat energy  to maintain its body temperature.  They also use up energy in the search for food, which is often in very limited supply under cold conditions. Read more...

Greenfinches

Greenfinches

by Chris ~ 22 May, 2010 ~ comments welcome

Greenfinches, parasites, heat islands and the BTO nesting survey.

Greenfinches are being killed by a protozoan parasiteTrichomonas.  The parasite causes swelling of the throat by infecting the crop and gullet, so the the birds cannot eat.  It has been suggested that as many as 500,000 greenfinches have been killed by this parasite. Read more...

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