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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Things I have learned in 2022 II

While I was in Doha, I maintained contact with the Wildlife Trust by writing little texts about why we cut things down.

Here's a taste.

In this day and age, cutting down trees can appear almost like sacrilege.

So, why are we doing it?

Our native woodlands are a living part of a living ecosystem that evolved over millennia with large mammals like auroch, elk and, going back even further, mastodons, all of whom would have thinned areas through their movement, browsing and grazing.

This made woodlands patchier and less dense, allowing light through the canopy, and encouraging an understorey and ground layer of vegetation to become established. A varied structure, with trees of different ages, a wide range of scrubby plants, wildflowers and some dead wood, creates a mosaic of different habitats and increases biodiversity.

Trees that have space and light to grow are better able to withstand adverse weather conditions. Scrubby plants and ground layer vegetation help to protect the soil from erosion, as well as lessening flooding when there is heavy rain and preventing the soil drying out when there are droughts.

In contrast, dense, dark, overgrown woods support far fewer plants, invertebrates, birds and mammals and are also more susceptible to the impact of a changing climate.

We are attempting, with muscles and chainsaws, to recreate the natural processes that kept woodlands rich and healthy. We plan our work carefully and choose the time of year for least disruption to wildlife.

In sacrificing some trees, we aim to increase the resilience of our woodland habitats and enhance their biodiversity.

As it happened, my first task back - my only day on site until 2023 - was performing exactly this management job. Although I was not cutting: I was stocking the bonfire.

Mischa provided potatoes, which were baked in a wheelbarrow of hot ash, and mince pies. A tree provided the cover picture Rudolf-the-Black-nosed-Pine-deer and the Christmas tree, decorated with mince pie cases and jacket potato foil!

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Dec 27, 2022

Good explanation. I bet the food tasted great :-)

Dec 29, 2022
Replying to

Yes it was lovely - though mine looked like baby sick as I poured my vegetable soup/stew on the potato.

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