Greetings, loyal readers; belated seasons wishes and all the best for this New Year.
2017 has come and gone, and brought with it more than its’ fair share of upsets and tribulations. I thought I would roll in to the new year with a few noteworthy and hopefully positive items from the world of wood over the last few weeks and months.
Two new large scale commercial woodlands were given the go ahead by the Forestry Commission in November; one on Lowther Estate, near Penrith, the other at Doddington North Moor near Wooler in Northumberland. The latter made the news for all the right reasons:
As the article states, Doddington is the largest new productive forest planting scheme to have been approved in the last 30 years. It is hoped that it will deliver long term benefits for the environment, by improving habitats and producing sustainable building materials, as well as generating and sustaining jobs in the local area while the forest is planted, fenced, maintained, thinned, and finally harvested and converted into timber or firewood.
Down in the Forest of Dean, my old patch, the local team have just been given the go ahead to proceed with a trial release of beavers to assess potential flood alleviation benefits arising from their damming activities. There has been increased interest in recent years in ‘natural flood management’ (NFM), replicating natural processes (usually in the upper reaches of a catchment) in order to reduce flooding risks further downstream. Beavers have been highlighted as a species with high potential for reducing flood risk and improving water quality through their natural dam building activities, slowing the flow and reducing sediment load. The study is intended to demonstrate and quantify these effects on a relatively small water course in the Forest of Dean which has previously been known to flood severely.
For a little while it looked like the scheme wasn’t going to be given the go ahead, having been put on hold indefinitely by DEFRA. However, it seems that the decision has been made that the ecological benefits from re-introduction and the beavers’ potential as a future natural flood alleviation measure outweigh any risk.
Just before Christmas Judi Dench presented a programme about the many wonders of trees in an artistically personalised / semi-scientific approach to demonstrating why these are organisms worthy of our time and attention.
Early in the New Year, on the 8th of Jan, is a new programme called The Forest, which will hopefully cover another of managing trees and woodland, from a more commercial perspective, and may give an interesting insight into how productive forests in the uplands are managed and the many factors taken into consideration. Some advance clips can be viewed below.
I hope to be uploading more posts over the next few weeks. Let’s hope 2018 is a bit more of a mellow year with even more good news we can enjoy!