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Still Waters

Plan to chop down forests in England

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Forests will be chopped down across England to make way for traditional heathland under Government plans to boost rare wildlife.

The new policy to convert forests to 'open habitat' will increase the area of heathland across England by 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) every year for at least the next five years.

This will mean chopping down thousands of hectares of mostly commercial conifers to allow rare animals like sand lizards, adder, woodlark and curlew to return.

It is estimated that 80 per cent of lowland heathland has been lost in the past 200 years to plantation forestry, agriculture and housing development.

The Department for the Environment and Forestry Commission policy for 'Restoration of Open Habitats from Woods and Forests' is designed to return much of the land taken by commercial forestry to wildlife.

Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, said 'woodland removal' will be balanced by planting trees elsewhere and communities will be consulted.

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hmmmm, selective use of headline there, perhaps, to make it sound as if this is yet more environmental vandalism, when it fact it seems to be just the opposite and is a step towards taking things back to how they were.

Incidentally, I never knew there was a Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, let alone that he was called Huw Irranca-Davies. Top name.

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Nothing like playing favorites with what animals will have a place to live.

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Well, I think the thinking is that this will favour the native wildlife, rather than, say, grey squirrels and similar imports.

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Heathland is, as such, an artificial environment. Arrested succession. Men, or rather sheep created it. Although I am completely in favour of protecting & preserving native species, in view of climate change, is it really the best thing to do to chop down more trees than we have to?

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In other words, they're harvesting a crop of commercially grown pines (conifers) to make lumber, etc. And to make it newsworthy, the story has to be made to sound like England is stripping itself of its forests instead of doing something economically positive like increasing the supply of lumber to make building homes more affordable. Not to mention opening the possibility of creating jobs.

And yet we lament the decline of newspaper sales!

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Put all of the countries 'imports' into woodland areas and let them run free, they run free everywhere else in the UK ;)

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Heathland is, as such, an artificial environment. Arrested succession. Men, or rather sheep created it. Although I am completely in favour of protecting & preserving native species, in view of climate change, is it really the best thing to do to chop down more trees than we have to?

these plantations (particularly conifers) don't really do very much to enhance the environment, they're so controlled that any other vegetation is either removed or not able to grow in the first place. And they don't really enhance the soil, taking all the nutrients out and not putting much back in. I expect this would probably be beneficial on the whole, certainly in terms of habitats for wildlife.

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Posted (edited)

This is of interest My link

Edited by Belial

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Posted (edited)

[And they don't really enhance the soil, taking all the nutrients out and not putting much back in. I expect this would probably be beneficial on the whole, certainly in terms of habitats for wildlife.

My uncle worked in forestry for a number of years and told me that the downside of conifers is that they adversely affect the soil. IIRC it has something to do with the turpentine content of the pine trees, the needles, the roots, etc. and its effect on the PH (?) of the soil.

Edited by Bud Rasputin

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My uncle worked in forestry for a number of years and told me that the downside of conifers is that they adversely affect the soil. IIRC it has something to do with the turpentine content of the pine trees, the needles, the roots, etc. and its effect on the PH (?) of the soil.

Plantations are sterile environments and polluting of the surrounding environment. Any other habitat is superior. They also have almost no financial value since superior Russian and Scandinavian timber is relatively cheap.

I suspect they would be aiming for the typical heath parkland with scattered woods, which represents a hugely valuable habitat mix.

A very good move all-round.

Br Cornelius

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Plantations are sterile environments and polluting of the surrounding environment. Any other habitat is superior. They also have almost no financial value since superior Russian and Scandinavian timber is relatively cheap.

I suspect they would be aiming for the typical heath parkland with scattered woods, which represents a hugely valuable habitat mix.

A very good move all-round.

Br Cornelius

You're absolutely right of course. Serves me right for drive by posting! I've got Stone Pines in my garden. Needless to say nothing bloody well grows anywhere near them.

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am still looking forward to the day when the decision is taken to re-plant the forest that went from the south coast all the way to the Scottish border.

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