A Watching Brief…...
Monday, November 20th 2017
Today, Foxglove Covert was visited by our Forestry Advisor to look at the potential Health and Safety risks posed by dead or dying trees that are next to, or near, the trails running through the Reserve. There is a balance needed between keeping dead trees that are still standing as habitat for wildlife, especially for woodpeckers, and the potential hazard posed of wood falling from rotting trees.
The small Ash tree in the picture on the left is right next to the path and so will have to be felled this week. It will still be left to rot down as a new form of habitat for invertebrates and fungi. Some trees have been identified as having weaknesses which need to be monitored, and these have been marked with small discs to identify them for future inspections.
This time, there was little cause for concern, and few trees have been identified that will need to be revisited to check on their health. However, there are several tree diseases that could well arrive at the Reserve in the future. 'Ash Dieback' may already be present, spread by the Chalara fraxinea fungus, and the Larch trees near the lake may be attacked by the Phytophthera disease, causing dieback and cankers and leading to the death of the trees.
Work is already in hand to see what alternatives could be planted to take the place of these trees. While we may lose the autumnal colours of the Larch, it will be important to select species that are equally good for wildlife, particularly in providing seeds for birds to eat during Autumn and Winter.
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