The title is modified from a quote used in the public health sector. It reflects the problems of trying to adopt evidence-based approaches to in this case conservation management. If asked what we really know about the effects our woodland management is likely to have on the species found in a site, the honest answer… Continue reading WWWWW or Would it work on a wet Wednesday in Wytham ?
Every now and then someone asks me a question which is so obvious and yet I had never really thought about it. I have regularly noted that our woodland cover (13%) is very much less than the European average of about 35%, but a recent query made me consider it a bit more. Forest map… Continue reading Why do we have less woodland than the rest of Europe?
WHolly and ivy are so strongly associated with Christmas that the carols start in my head, even as I write. The winter greenery was a sign of hope and renewal in the dark, cold, days of winter. The Green Knight who challenges Gawain at King Arthur’s Christmas feast carried a holly bob as a sign… Continue reading The Holly and the Ivy
We were up in the woods last week and the beech leaves were a beautiful golden in the autumn light. The fluttering as they fell added to the atmosphere, but apart from lending magic to dull November days, litter plays a bigger role in the life of a wood than often we give it credit.… Continue reading Littering the soil
When I moved up to the Lake District in 1977 my supervisor recommended I read H.H.Symonds‘s Afforestation in the Lake District (Symonds, 1936). This is an early polemic against large-scale conifer planting. Similar language was used in the 1980s at the height of the controversy about planting in bogland of Caithness and Sutherland (Tomkins, 1989).… Continue reading Where to with conifer plantations?
Woodland ecologists have a difficult relationship with large herbivores whether these are domestic livestock such as sheep and cattle, or wild ones like deer. In Wytham, for example, there are tensions. We have a scatter of large old oak and ash on former common land that became part of the woods in the 19th century. … Continue reading To graze or not to graze?
Part of my doctoral research on brambles in Wytham, back in 1974, involved clipping all the above-ground growth from one-metre square plots, a somewhat painful task. During the June harvest I first encountered what is now one of my favourite plants – Herb Paris. As I was cutting my way down through the bramble canopy… Continue reading The Oneberrie or Herb Paris