Saturday, 15 November 2008

Visiting other woods

We went on a brief visit to some nearby woods today, with Tracy in her role as SWOG co-ordinator, as Steve from Butterfly Conservation was doing a visit. First though we had a load of firewood to deliver locally:
As I'd hoped, the track in the wayleave had dried out during the week, so the only bit we had to push the trailer over by hand was the last bit in and out of the wood itself. The firewood drying shelter's looking a bit bare now:
The wood we went to visit is very different from ours, as it is a PAWS (Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site). Much darker, because of the coniferous trees, and much hillier as well!
It had different fungi as well, which isn't surprising:
There were some parts that looked familiar, like this section of 3-year old chestnut coppice regrowth, although in this case the coppice had been overstood and neglected - the coppice in our own wood was last cut about 15 years ago, so is decades away from being described as "neglected", especially as we're working it again now!
Steve emphasised that lighter sections like this were just what butterflies needed, and also that butterflies are a good indicator species - if they're there, so are other invertebrates and the creatures that feed on them. If the butterflies aren't there, then there's not much else around either.

The other important thing was connectivity - having well-lit corridors through the wood connecting the different open areas - as the butterflies won't fly through a dark section of woodland. This applies to birds too, but to a lesser extent. Creating corridors is what we're doing this winter with our coppicing along the rides - which we'll be able to restart at the end of this week, when I switch to only working 2 days a week for the Ashden Awards until January.


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