The conservation sector is quite used to the idea that one wood is not necessarily the same as the next; that a site in Kent will be different to one in Gwynedd. We need to remember to apply this principle to how woods change over time as well as space, right back into pre-history. Some… Continue reading Every wood has a different history
Autumn is here and the heatwave of the summer a distant memory, although in Wytham the ground is still quite dry and ponds and streams have not yet filled-up again. Time to start looking at results from the Dawkins Plots surveys, to see what they might suggest for where the Woods are going now that… Continue reading Ash Dieback in Wytham Woods
I recently attended the Native Woodland Discussion Group’s conference with this title at Perth (http://www.nwdg.org.uk). It was a fascinating day, kicked-off by Frans Vera, talking about the role that large herbivores might have played in shaping such forests. My reflections on the day are set out below. A challenge to conservation thinking I first read… Continue reading The nature of the first forests in North-west Europe
A common reaction when it looks like a wood is being overgrazed, is to put in a fenced exclosure. Marked differences may then develop between the area within the fence and that outside. The exclosures may be maintained, as are those in Roudsea Wood, Cumbria, but with the wood outside still being heavily impacted. In… Continue reading An exclosure study in Derbyshire – what happened after
Apologies, this should have gone up in August when it was written! Kielder has a claim to be Europe’s largest man-made forest, but for me it was the campsite we stopped off in on our way to holidays in Scotland in the mid-Sixties. One time I went for a walk and thought I would cut… Continue reading All Spruced-up
My plot recording in Wytham Woods to provide a baseline of the condition of the vegetation at the start of the Ash Dieback outbreak has gone well, albeit I could have done with slightly cooler conditions. At times I was wilting nearly as much as the dog’s mercury. Three-quarters of the plots have so far… Continue reading Death and decay in the Woods
Apparently, summer is a difficult time of year for badgers, particularly the cubs, because, as the soil dries out they are unlikely to be able to find enough earthworms to eat. I don’t eat earthworms but high summer in the woods is not my favourite season either. (line drawing @Natural England) The spring has the… Continue reading This is the season the badger dislikes and so do I! (With apologies to Thomas Hardy)
Berriedale is noted as the most northerly semi-natural woodland in Britain, but my memories of it from a visit in 1983, was that it was little more than a few birch and willow in a gully. Descriptions of it implied there was more to it and it now features on the 1:25000 O.S. map, so… Continue reading Berriedale on Hoy, Orkney
There are interesting discussions going on about the role of keystone species and whether ‘lost’ species should be re-introduced. We have the lynx proposal for Northumberland, official and guerrilla releases of beaver, the spread of wild boar. Elsewhere low populations are being reinforced, for example red kite releases and the recent pine marten translocation in… Continue reading Are trees overlooked keystone species in the re-introduction debate?
One of the few, reasonably consistent, rules in conservation, is that big sites tend to hold more species than small ones. If species number is plotted against the logarithm of wood area for example there is usually a good straight-line fit. Does that mean we should always give priority to the largest sites? Can conservation… Continue reading Does size matter in woodland conservation?