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Oaks planted and self set

"Naturalness is whatever occurs between human interventions." Richard Mabey (The Ash and the Beech)
Young oak with marble gall - interaction between plant and animal occurs at an early stage
Naturally regenerating woodland at Holders; from acorns probably planted by Jays. These trees are likely to contribute to prime Oak woodlands but alas way beyond our life time 
These self set oaks range between 1 year and 40-50 years
In Contrast the 'Millennium Oak' Plantation at Highbury (circa 2000)
The debate here concerns the planting and /or natural development of new woodland. I believe it was Richard Mabey (source to be verified) who said that most planted trees are 'planted in the wrong place', and I take this to mean that a planted tree is unlikely to do as well over a long term as a naturally occurring tree, grown as it stands from seed. Who knows? difficult to say for certain how long a tree can be expected to live. There is a life expectancy for all living things and this depends on many variable factors.
This table from the above publication considers the pros and cons of introducing plants to new woodland - decisions have to be made and either way it's not clear cut.


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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. 
The ‘woodland’ theme seems to have universal appeal and is steeped in history, ecology, science, spirituality, mythology and culturally, much more.
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.
The word ecotone was coined from a combination of eco(logy) plus -tone, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension. (Wiki)

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…