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Dead wood

Fallen Poplar at Highbury Park
Dead wood, in a variety of conditions and circumstances, is an essential feature of a thriving woodland.

A fallen tree is not always a bad situation, providing there's no injury to people or damage to property, a fallen tree in a wooded setting can be viewed as a positive occurrence as long as the timber can be left in situ.

In this instance at Highbury, the tree is safely on the ground and can fall no further. The trunk from hereon will be investigated by a host of creatures including young humans, and will gradually break down through the processes of decay, wear and weathering.

This extract is from the 'Trees For Life' webpage

"The value of dead wood"

"Dead wood (coarse woody debris or CWD) is extremely important to the health of the forest, and this is being increasingly recognised by conservationists. Not only is it an aspect of the process of nutrient cycling, providing a steady, slow-release source of nitrogen, but it is also thought to play a significant role in carbon storage. Fallen logs can also increase soil stability within a woodland."

Check out the website for further information on dead wood

Candle snuff fungus on hazel logs and dead oak trunk at Highbury.

                                                         Fallen tree with fungus

Thankfully felled trees are retained in parks more often these days and seem to be appreciated for their ecological value. A well decayed horizontal trunk at Highbury is occupied by Lesser Stag Beetles, although the decay is well advanced and will soon be unsuitable for such creatures.

Guidance from Forestry Commission publication 'Life in the Deadwood'
Standing dead trunks at Highbury, crucial for many species. This tree housed a swarm of wild bees a couple of years ago, quite a 'rarity', we were told by the local bee keepers


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Highbury Park Friends January 2017 newsletter

Join Highbury Park Friends to get up to date information about this wonderful park - follow the link above for the latest newsletter.

There's so much going on already and this is set to increase as the Chamberlain Highbury Trust look to bring many new and exciting ideas to the Highbury estate and adjoining park land. Check out their website on the links below

Weekly and monthly activities incuding 'Woodland Wednesdays' with the Rangers and B&BCWT, supported by NIA (Nature Improvement Area) funding.

Woodland Play after school club, every Wednesday at the Orchard - Highbury Orchard Community Interest Company oversee this -

A visiting student from Virginia asks -

Q1 What do you think are the biggest benefits of teaching and using traditional woodland management techniques in city parks?
A1. The essence of a Ranger’s role is to engage the community at large with the aim of encouraging more people to use parks and green spaces. Therefore a range of themes, topics and activities are employed to meet the broad interests and diverse nature of the public, involving people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities etc. 
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So generally we can assume people want to learn something new, make something using natural resources and have an involvement in their local green space, so that a few basic skills, some knowledge and a morsel of understanding related to ecological principles allows people to feel good about themselves and enables them to share these good feelings, acquired skills and gained knowledge with…

Ecotones and Succession = TENSION

The term 'ecotone' cropped up this week as a Tree Officer colleague and I looked at Holders Woods in an exercise to describe the woodland structure, composition and current management.
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Ecotones are generally recognised for ecological richness and a good place to observe the 'tensions' and interactions between certain animals and plants.

A woodland edge for example is often regarded as the richest part of a woodland, especially if the edge is bordered by grassland meadow or water.

The Rea Valley in this regard is a wonderful mix of urban ecosystems and ecotones, and one of my favourite locations is the developing oak woodland at the edge of Holders Woods. Undoubtedly the result of acorn planting Jays, we find oaks ranging from year 1 to year 50, but with a majority of young trees around 10-20 years, sugge…