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God's Trees - Julian Evans' new book about trees, forests and wood in the Bible

God’s Trees – Julian Evans’ new book about trees, forests and wood in the Bible

by Angus ~ 2 December, 2013 ~ 2 comments

This is the ideal Christmas present for anyone who likes trees.  At only £15, 'God's Trees' is both a coffee table book and an authority on the subject of trees in the Bible.  You'll find out about the trees of all the 'Bible lands' including modern-day Israel, Syria, Egypt, Iran, and Iraq.  It's not just which trees were there but how they were used -  Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani ) for beams in Solomon's temple, Acacia trees for shade in the Negev desert but most widespread were Olive trees (Olea europaea) which produced olive oil for lighting and cooking.  You can do a cover-to-cover read or just dip in for the pictures and captions enjoying the exotic photos, maps and the illustrations by Veronica Pinchen. Read more...

Chopping for Chopsticks

Chopping for Chopsticks

by Victoria ~ 8 October, 2013 ~ comments welcome

Recently a friend of mine exclaimed that China gets through 80 billion disposable chopsticks a year.  This is enough to fill Tiananmen Square three times over.  With a population of 1.4 billion, the demand for these utensils is eating away at China’s forests, at a staggering rate.  China's natural forest resources are extremely limited (139th in the world); despite this, 3.8 million trees a year are being cut down - that is, about 100 acres every 24 hours.

This deforestation is having knock-on environmental effects, causing landslides, flooding and leading to climate change.  One of the contributors to forest over-exploitation is the demand for disposable chopsticks.  The situation is not looking any more promising as the uptake for Asian cuisine is becoming more common across the globe. Read more...

Ground beetles - Carabids declining!

Ground beetles – Carabids declining!

by Chris ~ 14 December, 2012 ~ 4 comments

There have been various articles that comment on the decline in numbers / variety of bees and butterflies, now a recent study reported in the Journal of Applied Ecology comments on a worrying decline in the numbers of ground beetles or carabids.   Scientists at Rothamsted Research, working with the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology have found that some 70+ % of ground beetle species have shown a fall in numbers.  The scientists monitored beetle populations at many locations throughout the U.K. over a time scale of some fifteen years. They found the decline in the abundance of ground beetles was comparable to those reported for butterflies and moths. Read more...

Wetlands, woodlands and watery animals

Wetlands, woodlands and watery animals

by Angus ~ 23 September, 2012 ~ 3 comments

"That's the wettest woodland in the county" is a comment people often make about their local woodland.  But this comment cannot be literally true for very many woods.  It seems that people are often surprised by how wet woodlands can be and hence are often keen to drain them.  However, wetlands are important habitats and can be home to unusual birds, invertebrates and mammals.

Visiting the London Wetlands Centre recently I discovered how a former sewage works has been transformed into a wildlife sanctuary over the last 20 years.  Having become redundant as a sewage treatment plant, because of the creation of the Thames Water ring main, negotiations in the late 1980s led to part of it being developed for housing by Berkeley Homes (about 40 acres) and the remainder Read more...

Creating a woodland pond and encouraging pond life.

Creating a woodland pond and encouraging pond life.

by Angus ~ 27 March, 2012 ~ 3 comments

Pond building in woodland is more than just digging a big hole.   It is very much about creating a habitat, which is varied but which actually keeps the water in.  Over the last month or so, we have been digging a large wildlife pond in Kent not only for wildlife but also for enjoyment. We wanted an expanse of water that would be big enough for some canoeing and paddling around in small boats.

To do the job, we employed a pair of digger drivers with their machines but we were very much involved in the design and practicalities.  I knew several people who had dug ponds and lakes but in this case I particularly wanted something with an island; hoping that this could be a protected area for bird nesting - as well as an interesting feature. Read more...

Lath Wood

Lath Wood

by Robert S ~ 12 February, 2012 ~ 2 comments

My wife and I decided on the purchase of a small wood a few years ago.  We were able to research financial, legal and physical practicalities on-line and www.woodlands.co.uk was the most useful site in our search for a suitable wood. We visited nine or ten woods  across the South of England, from Devon in the West to Kent in the East.  We were looking for a wood between 3 and 6 acres up to a  spend of about £40K. Some people spend as much on a car, whilst for us non-drivers - a wood is a much better, permanent investment, especially when financial products are looking risky.

But we weren’t just looking for somewhere to bank money but a place of natural beauty and quietude to enjoy and preserve.   Our wood had to be accessible from London by public transport but still a rural gem away from built habitation.  We were ideally looking for a bluebell wood with a good mix of tree cover -- not a conifer plantation. Read more...

Woodland Shelter Build.

Woodland Shelter Build.

by Mike Alex and Mark ~ 11 April, 2011 ~ 6 comments

A priority when staying out in the woods is a good water and wind proof shelter

The following photos show the construction of a hazel wood shelter to sleep 2-3 people.

We are out a lot, so we built it to last.

The photographs in the 'strip' below show the various stages in the construction of the shelter. Read more...

Are children suffering from a "nature-deficit"?

Are children suffering from a “nature-deficit”?

by Angus ~ 3 March, 2011 ~ 7 comments

This is the central question in Richard Louv's book, "Last child in the woods," and this concern is shared by the broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.  As Attenborough says, "all children start off being interested in the natural world, it's deep in our instincts...".    Children may have theoretical knowledge but not touchy-feely experience. As Louv explains, " children today are aware of global threats to the environment but their physical contact, their intimacy, with nature is fading."

Nature-deficit surveys
Natural England did a survey recently in which they examined changing relationships with nature across generations and they found that fewer then 10% of children now play in natural places (such as woodlands and heathlands) compared with 40% of today's adults who did so when they were young.  The BBC Wildlife Magazine carried out another survey which found that many children now cannot identify common species such as bluebells and frogs. Read more...

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