Posts Tagged 'Threat'

SERIOUS MONDAY: UK’S ANCIENT WOODLANDS UNDER THREAT

 

As regular readers will know, I’m a tree person 🙂

And although I must admit that I rarely hug them, a forest walk is a great delight.  I’m lucky to live in an area with lots of trees – and they provide an ever-changing picture from virtually every window in our house.

(Sadly of course that does mean non-stop collection of fallen leaves at this time of year but I’m bagging them this time and saving them to use in the garden).

Trees play a huge part in the life of our planet  – from offsetting carbon emissions and helping in the fight against climate change, to providing shelter for birds and animals and producing fruit, medicines and food.

And in the words of Archie Miles (author of The Trees that Made Britain), trees provided the foundation of our nation’s heritage.

So I was really concerned to read the results of a survey carried out by the Woodland Trust which shows that over the past decade, we’ve lost 100 square miles of ancient woodland in the UK.

That’s the equivalent of an area around the size of Birmingham – and represents 5 per cent of the remaining ancient woodland we have left.

Following 12 months of research, the trust has discovered that half of the ancient woodland we had in the 1930s has already been destroyed or degraded. HALF of our traditional woodlands – gone!

Ed Pomfret from the Woodland Trust says the UK’s ancient woodland is our equivalent of the rainforest – and irreplaceable. 

Some woodlands have been around since the Ice Age and woolands are the most valuable space for wildlife – and home to more threatened species than any other habitat.

And although in theory, ancient woodlands are protected, there are loopholdes in the system that allow them to be destroyed if a developer can prove “economic need.”  That would never happen with a building of architectural importance – and preserving our trees is just as important. (Many woodlands were around long before any of the buildings that we now describe as ancient.)

The trust’s research shows that the biggest threat is from new roads, followed by utilities and power lines but airport expansion and leisure facilities also pose a threat.

And it says we need to protect our woodlands from further damage because we can’t rely on official bodies to do it for us. So it has set up a campaign called WoodWatch which uses the eyes and ears of the public to stop the destruction.

WoodWatch provides people with information and resources to help save threatened woodland in their area. You can find out more here. You can also locate and update the trust on threats to trees through its interactive map and you can find out about wood under treat NOW in your area by following this link. 

At the moment, the Woodland Trust is involved in over 400 cases of trees under threat in Britain.

Do what you can – trees are SO important 🙂

Susan

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SERIOUS MONDAY: EUROPE’S PINE FORESTS UNDER THREAT

There aren’t many experiences to beat that of a walk through a pine forest – with the crunch of crisp needles underfoot and the incredible scent from the pines.

So it’s devastating to hear that experts fear the spread of a killer bug that has already destroyed forests in East Asia.  Japan’s massive pine colonies were wiped out by this same bug 30 years ago and it invaded Portugal almost 10 years ago – killing hundreds of thousands of trees within just three years.

Experts fear the outbreak is now out of control and predict that it could  spread widely – affecting both maritime pine and our own beautiful Scots pine,  the most widespread pine in Europe (and a favourite choice for Christmas trees.)

Tight restrictions have already been introduced in Portugal and all pine must be disinfected before being exported but the bug is carried by a flying beetle so clearly, port restrictions won’t protect its neighbours from the flight of the beetle.

And an expert from Britain’s Forestry Commission warned recently that given the scale of its spread to date, the bug will be very difficult to wipe out.

I’m lucky enough to live within travelling distance of Kielder Forest – the largest forest in England and home to one of Europe’s largest man-made lakes.  A lot of the trees are other species but it has a lot of  Scots pine and I’d hate to see it hit by such a terrible disease.

(You can get an idea of Kielder’s beauty in this video but it doesn’t really do justice to the sense of awe that you feel walking through this incredible forest so if you can get there, don’t miss it.
 (It is one of the last strongholds of our beloved red squirrel and has been officially voted England’s most tranquil spot by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.)

Susan

DAILY GREEN JOKE – WEDNESDAY 22/08/07

Scientists are still maintaining that cattle flatulence poses a major threat to the environment. Certainly brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘Wind Farm’.