WESTHILL BLOG No. 7
On perhaps the warmest week of the year, we have been doing what feels like the hottest possible work ... Forestry.
The plan was, to work in the shade, but more importantly get the forest to a state where it can be used this year as a Forest School. Overall, the forestry work has taken several weeks, but this week we have very almost completed forestry operations.
So what has been achieved?
The removal of brash (the dead branches) to allow for light to penetrate the forest floor & make walking through the forest safer
Thinning out of dead & spindly trees
Creating a space which can be accessed easily & walked through from end to end
Aside from creating a Forest School, the long term aims of the forest is to increase its biodiversity & create a legacy for future generations by planting a range of native woodland species e.g. Oak, Field Maple, Holly, Cherry, Hazel & Spindle.
As with any plantation, our current forest, a former Christmas Tree forest is a monocrop, thus containing just one species; Picea abies.
With this one species, an evergreen conifer, grown at 1 meter intervals, prevents sunlight from penetrating the canopy, thus creating a dark forest floor. This significantly reduces the lightly hood of any colonisation by any other species.
So, by thinning out the Christmas trees, allowing light to penetrate the forest floor, opening up corridors allowing air movement & migrational routes for insects & birds; there are now greater opportunities for new species to move in.
Its all about insects! Biodiversity starts with insects, who pollinate plants, feed birds, who intern feed mammals ...
Creating log piles; in essence is creating a mini habitat for insects, which intern will attract more wildlife.
But also, I would like to increase the ground flora too; by that I mean the Bryophytes; the lower plants (moss, lichens, ferns) which are often found on the forest floor & old logs.