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The extensive forestry work of 2013, under the guidance of Richard Pearce at the Forestry Commission, is already showing benefits.
With the help of John Morris of Chiltern Woodlands, forty plus veteran trees have been identified and remedial tree surgery carried out to make them viable for the future. The main coppicing work by the roadsides has been completed by our contractors and roadside trees checked for safety.
The next 3-5 years will see an ongoing thinning programme, again specified by the Forestry Commission. The long timescale will minimise the effect on wildlife and also increase the age range of trees on the Commons. Shortly after the first phase of coppicing was completed, large numbers of fungi emerged which had obviously benefited from the new conditions.
It is also hoped that certain woodland butterflies will be attracted to the openess of the newly created sunny glades, where conditions for common food plants have been improved. the commons are already home to a fantastic variety of butterflies from Spring to Autumn. Take a look at our stunning butterfly gallery page - photos courtesy of local photographer David Dennis, Butterfly Conservation.
It's also worth noting that whilst tidiness may appeal to our sense of order it is not the best habitat in which diverse creatures and micro-organisms thrive. The Forestry Commission recommends leaving the brash on the ground where it eventually breaks down and returns goodness to the soil. It also provides some degree of protection for freshly emerging plants, whilst providing essential winter habitat for a diverse range of invertebrates. These invertebrates will be an essential food source for the local bird population and their respective chicks.
We are therefore following Forestry Commission advice to allow nature to drive the processes of change. We look forward to watching how these areas develop without further interference, perhaps with new species appearing, or long buried seed of ground flora re-emerging.