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An answer is in sight for puzzled walkers stumped by the appearance of hulking dead trees left standing in a Lincolnshire wood.
The Forestry Commission recently clear felled a 3 hectare (7.5 acre) area of Osgodby Wood, near Market Rasen, but left a handful of tall tree stumps standing as part of a novel drive to encourage wildlife.
The so-called eco-perches, some 20 feet tall, have been left for birds like buzzards, kestrels and owls to sit on so they can scan the newly felled area which is a prime hunting ground for prey like small mammals. When they rot down, the trees will also provide nesting sites for species like woodpecker.
Forester Wally Grice explained:
“It does look a bit odd leaving a few tree stumps standing, but it’s all part of our plan to help wildlife. Areas felled of trees might look a bit bare at first, but in fact they are a honey pot for mice and voles, which are a crucial part of the food chain. Giving birds a place to sit means they can watch for signs of movement before taking to the wing and pouncing on their meal.”
Strange as it might seem, actively working a woodland through a cycle of felling and planting creates a far more valuable habitat for wildlife and the Osgodby site will be replanted with 8000 trees next winter.
However, the Forestry Commission estimates that 60 per cent of Lincolnshire’s woods are under managed and could offer better havens for animals and plants and supply more timber.
Osgodby Wood was planted in the 1950s on land used as a military camp by soldiers charged with protecting Lincolnshire’s air fields. It was also the site of a TB hospital. Recent felling work has not only provide nearly 1300 tonnes of much needed timber – a sustainable eco-friendly resource – but it is also contributing to the gradual reshaping of the country’s woods. More broadleaf trees and open spaces will be created over the next few decades in woods around Market Rasen, including Osgodby.
Wally Grice added:
“Forestry is a long term business and our eyes are not just on next year but up to 50 years ahead.”
NOTE TO EDITOR
Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For more visit www.forestry.gov.uk/EastMidlands
Richard Darn on 01226 246351, mobile 0775 367 0038.