The jackdaws are swirling over our street, dropping sticks into chimney pots; in the hedges and woods new growth is appearing – cow parsley, lesser celandine, primroses and anemones. Spring is underway. It may temporarily get put on hold, if we have a sudden cold snap, but it won’t then be long before things get… Continue reading Strange times
Time and again people stress the usefulness of long-term records and bemoan their lack. Yet at a recent conference http://www.ukeof.org.uk/conference-2020 , organised by the UK Earth Observation Forum, monitoring and long-term surveillance were described as the Cinderella subjects. It is generally much more exciting for funders, and often for the researchers themselves, to set-up new… Continue reading How do we best organise studies of long-term change?
When did you last press a plant?
Clones often get a bad press. Multiple identical copies of the same individual are seen as undesirable, vulnerable to diseases, unlikely to survive. Yet our woods are full of them (and so are many gardens). Clones are simply groups of individuals that are all identical genetically. When a daffodil or bluebell forms a new bulb… Continue reading The Clones have landed
And with good reason, given the way we have spread elm disease across continents. There was a big elm tree at the top of our garden by the road, elms in the adjacent hedge, and a couple of other small clumps on our boundaries when I was boy. I remember Dutch Elm Disease appearing in… Continue reading Ellum she hateth mankind…
The Forestry Commission has always been a strange beast. Formed in response to war-time timber shortages in 1919 it long retained something of a military hierarchy in its structure. It was a Civil Service Department that also became one of the country’s biggest landowners with all the practical responsibilities that go with such an estate.… Continue reading A century of the Forestry Commission
Yellowstone National Park was one of the places that kept coming up through my career, as the first U.S. national park; as one of the key examples in the rewilding literature because of the re-introduction of wolves; and as the site of devastating fires in 1988 (or were they just what the park needed). So,… Continue reading A visit to Yellowstone National Park