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'Other' Evergreens

Other evergreens alongside our collections and plantations of conifers include some interesting broadleaved species such as Ivy, Holly and Holm Oak.

Ivy in particular causes strong debate amongst tree managers as their considerations involve public health and safety alongside the welfare of individual trees. Richard Mabey tells us that "Attitudes towards ivy have been ambivalent since classical times" (Flora Britannica). Once believed to counteract the effects of alcohol, observed in the plant's ability to "smother grapevines" and thought to indicate some sort of cure for, or prevention of hangover.

Ivy clad undergrowth, shown here on the Rea riverside, is a valuable plant throughout the year, providing food and shelter to birds and invertebrates, especially Holly Blue butterflies-
"The larvae feed predominantly on the flower buds, berries and terminal leaves of Holly (Ilex aquifolium) in the spring generation, and Ivy (Hedera helix) in the summer generation." (Butterfly Conservation - )

as the plant clambers higher into the crowns of oaks, cover is provided for Tawny Owls.

Ivy causes great consternation to tree managers

Holm Oak
Quercus ilex at Kings Heath Park.
Holly like leaves - Holm Oak
A meditteranean origin

A gorgeous night scene of the largest tree in the world -- General Sherman Tree in California’s Sequoia National Park. Christian Loya captured this stunning shot last month. Of the experience, Christian says, “I had been trying various compositions for hours before everything came together. The skies finally cleared revealing a blanket of stars against these old and majestic trees.” Photo courtesy of Christian Loya. — at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks


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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…