A.J. Grayson (Ed)
The storm which struck south-east England on the night of 15/16 October 1987 was the worst in the region since 1703: it caused more damage to woodlands and trees than any other recorded gale in Britain. Some 4 million cubic metres of timber were blown, equivalent to about 5 years’ cut in the seven worst affected counties. Broadleaved trees predominated and 72% of the damage occurred to privately owned woodlands and trees. The Forestry Commission set up a Forest Windblow Action Committee shortly after the storm for the purpose of assessing the damage, advising on the clearance and marketing of timber and recommending any action considered appropriate. A major concern was the potential degrade of logs left unharvested. Losses in value from this cause have not been as high as originally feared. Supplies of wood in other parts of the country were held back and many contractors moved teams into the affected region. Clearance of some 65% of the blown volume had been achieved by June 1989. However, some trees of lower value species or smaller sizes and in inaccessible sites are likely never to be cleared. Supplements to the Forestry Commission’s normal planting grants were made available for replanting blown woodlands. In addition, £9 millions were provided for restoration of non-woodland trees over 3 years. Useful lessons were learnt on the way to deal with such emergencies, including the value of a focal point for information and advice. In the south-east, it is clear that a wider range of tree ages in the growing stock would have reduced the scale of the catastrophe.
190 x 250mm | 64 pages | colour photographs