Scrub is Special – Save our Scrub

Another vital post from Alvecote Wood

Alvecote Wood

Scrub habitat in Betty's Wood - home to whitethroat and yellowhammer Scrub habitat in Betty’s Wood – home to whitethroat and yellowhammer

Scrub, as a habitat, is nearly always followed by the words “clearance” or “eradication”. How often do we read the words “it’s only scrub,” as if this is some kind of second-rate habitat to which we must do something.

A brief Google search reveals countless pages relating to wildlife groups, country parks and nature reserves, all talking about “scrub clearance”. Not to mention countless contractors offering their services, machinery, manpower and chemicals to clear scrub.

Scrub has a bad name. It has become something to be controlled, eliminated, pushed to the corners of our fields and woodlands. It doesn’t seem to be wanted, valued or loved.

Scrub is usually regenerating woodland, although in certain special situations, it may be the final, or climax, plant community. Woodland may be regenerating on a woodland site that has lost its trees, through…

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An epic story: Very Important Trees.

Woodland Matters

Nearly 1,000 years ago, the epic story of the build up to and successful invasion of Britain by William the Conqueror was captured on a length of embroidered cloth. There is much that we don’t know about this iconic piece of work, including who commissioned it. But looking closer, the Bayeux tapestry tells us much about trees.

I was recently invited to the heart of Normandy to give a presentation to the University of Paris, Summer School in Collonges about the iconography of the trees on the Bayeux tapestry.

According to Sylvette Lemagnen, one of the conservators of the tapestry,

“The Bayeux tapestry is one of the supreme achievements of the Norman Romanesque … Its survival almost intact over nine centuries is little short of miraculous … Its exceptional length, the harmony and freshness of its colours, its exquisite workmanship, and the genius of its guiding spirit combine to make it endlessly fascinating.”

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Hopwas Woods – Ancient Woodland Under Threat

I’m reblogging this because it is vital that as many people act to save our ancient woodlands. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Alvecote Wood

PAWS - regenerating broadleaf under conifer at Hopwas Woods PAWS – regenerating broadleaf under conifer at Hopwas Woods

There are many misunderstandings around the phrase “ancient woodland”. But it is really quite simple: ancient woodland is a piece of land that has been wooded since 1600. The age of the current trees don’t matter, although ancient woodland is often home to special, ancient and craggy trees of great wildlife value. What matters is that the piece of land has had woodland on it for a very long time.

So, woodland that has been destroyed by fire but that is regrowing can still be ancient woodland, as can woodland that has been felled and planted with conifers – the soil is what matters, and that soil contains all the special organisms such as mycorrhizal fungi, bacteria and slime moulds, as well as flatworms, insects and others. Once the planted woodland disappears, the soil will regenerate the special ancient woodland that…

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Every tree I’ve climbed

europeantrees

I remember every tree I’ve climbed, given trees are my passion since I can remember (apparently at the age of eight I stated I wanted to become a forester), this is a lot of trees.

I am not a climbing arborist, and one would guess climbing arborists would be less attached to each tree due to the quantity they have to climb, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

I cannot list each tree, but the smell, the feel and sometimes fear of each climbing experience is still a much more powerful memory than many holidays and certainly many important life milestones (although alcohol may have played a part here).

The first tree I truly climbed, to the top, was a young Sequoia (planted the year of my birth) and I remember distinctly the extraordinary sensation of holding on tight as it swayed in the breeze. Exhilarating yet scary…

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