Chopping trees down…why do we do it?

Posted 11th Dec 2012 | Comments (0) |

Managing our woodlands
Managing our woodlands

A lot of the work of Wildlife in the city and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust across the county, is based around woodland management.  This work is particularly active in autumn and winter - we avoid managing trees and scrub in spring and summer as birds are nesting and the trees and plants are themselves growing.

It is not always immediately obvious to the onlooker while us supposed 'wildlife lovers' spend so much time cutting things down - but in fact there can be many reasons, and it needs to be a large part of habitat management.

We asked our Head of Estates, Charles Langtree, to explain many of the questions we often get asked:

Managing our Woodlands

Why do we chop down what looks like a healthy tree?

  • For structure. If we only had big tall trees all of the same age, this creates darker, condensed, cold woodland. This doesn’t allow any new growth through and impacts on the amount and variety of invertebrates, which then affects the amount of birds and small mammals and so on.
  • If all the trees are the same height and age they will all die within a short time of each other, so by cutting what seems like a healthy tree down, it actually helps to preserve the woodland’s future. It is worth highlighting that many of the trees we cut down will regrow from the stump.
  • Quite a few people feel threatened when walking in dark woodland with lots of large trees next to paths, so chopping out few of the larger trees that encroach on the path creates safer woodland with more light and a clear line of sight all around you, that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Me and my kids come and pick blackberry’s every year why are you chopping that back?

Left to its own accord bramble would just take over completely, we will not chop it all back but only to keep paths clear and to keep the open spaces open which again is important for invertebrates which has a knock on for the whole food chain

What are the long and short term gains of this work?

Short  gains:

  • It makes people feel safer as you can see further and in some cases through the woods 
  • Allows light to the woodland floor allowing woodland plants to come through and for you to see better
  • Allows us to take away any trees that are unstable or branches have come off.

Long Gains:

  • Preservation of woodland: keeping a healthy growing woodland for future generations to enjoy and look after
  • Improved invertebrate habitat that creates a better food chain, more creepy crawlies will bring in more birds and small mammals, and in turn that brings the birds of prey and the  bigger mammals.

Approaching the people doing the work?

  • Don’t approach some body whist a chainsaw is in operation
  • If a tree is being felled keep a good safe distance at least 3 times the length of the tree
  • Pop you dog on its lead if you hear a chainsaw in operation for its own safety

Not knowing what to say or ask?

The staff and volunteers at Nottinghamshire wildlife trust are a very friendly bunch, never feel like you can’t go up and talk to them, they will be more than happy to speak to you and answer any queries and questions you may have be it about the site there working on or how you can go about doing what they do.  Nottinghamshire wildlife trust are always in need of volunteers and support, from becoming a member, fundraising or to just getting your hands dirty and getting stuck in with the team.
If for some reason you don’t agree with what is going on, then before taking you anger out on the first person you see working on site, please remember we are a charity which relies a lot on volunteers and most of the people there will be volunteers so please ask for a member of staff to talk to and the appropriate forms of communication can be put in place

How can I comment on the work that is going on?

Ring the main office on 0115 958 8242
Ask us via Facebook and twitter

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