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Forestry and Woodland management Discuss all aspects of forestry. Discuss ecological issues and laws pertaining to woodland management.


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Old 26-01-12   #1 (permalink)
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Ancient Woodland

What are peoples views on managing ancient woodlands. I help look after 45 acres of woodland which has been managed a long time ago for mining prop and first world war timber but since then its been neglected. We want to improve it and encourage people to use it and we want to impove biodiversity. We also want to get a small fire wood income from if we can. There's lots of oak and some elm and lots of syc and holy. We're gettin advice about woodland management plans but thought it would be a nice topic of conversation.
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Old 26-01-12   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

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What are peoples views on managing ancient woodlands. I help look after 45 acres of woodland which has been managed a long time ago for mining prop and first world war timber but since then its been neglected. We want to improve it and encourage people to use it and we want to impove biodiversity. We also want to get a small fire wood income from if we can. There's lots of oak and some elm and lots of syc and holy. We're gettin advice about woodland management plans but thought it would be a nice topic of conversation.
If you're aiming at improving and enhancing biodiversity, you're focus should be on :
- preservation of the ectomycorrhizal oaks with the most extensive tree species specific ecosystem of all indigenous European broadleaved tree species,
- on all of the older elms, that have a far more limited, though specialized tree species specific ecosystem,
- and on the long run on elimination of the sycamores, that are associated with generalistic endomycorrhizal microfungi and have almost no tree species specific ecosystem at all.
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Old 26-01-12   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

Or to put it another way - move towards diversifying the age structure and canopy intensity of your woodland by selective felling, probably focused on the sycamore since it is unpopular in ancient woodlands but popular in fireplaces, so fell sycamore where you can and fell other species where you must.

Don't burn a stick - pile your lop and top in big piles and let it rot down, leave dead stems where safe to do so, if you have to fell them or they windblow/snap then cut them at 1m lengths and pile them in no particular order.

If your wood is even aged some small felling coupes and replanting may be in order.

If there are roadways or paths then look at varying the width by doing a bit of felling and vary the frequency of any mowing you do to maintain them particularly along the sides.

The more you can vary the level and intensity of light getting to the forest floor the more you will vary the habitat

Have fun

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Old 26-01-12   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

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Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
If you're aiming at improving and enhancing biodiversity, you're focus should be on :
- preservation of the ectomycorrhizal oaks with the most extensive tree species specific ecosystem of all indigenous European broadleaved tree species,
- on all of the older elms, that have a far more limited, though specialized tree species specific ecosystem,
- and on the long run on elimination of the sycamores, that are associated with generalistic endomycorrhizal microfungi and have almost no tree species specific ecosystem at all.
Thanks, just a couple of clarifications needed. What does a ectomycorrhizal oaks look like? and how will I know when I see a generalistic endomycorrhizal microfungi. Sounds like we need to hire in a biologist to explain this one.
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Old 26-01-12   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

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Originally Posted by muldonach View Post
Or to put it another way - move towards diversifying the age structure and canopy intensity of your woodland by selective felling, probably focused on the sycamore since it is unpopular in ancient woodlands but popular in fireplaces, so fell sycamore where you can and fell other species where you must.

Don't burn a stick - pile your lop and top in big piles and let it rot down, leave dead stems where safe to do so, if you have to fell them or they windblow/snap then cut them at 1m lengths and pile them in no particular order.

If your wood is even aged some small felling coupes and replanting may be in order.

If there are roadways or paths then look at varying the width by doing a bit of felling and vary the frequency of any mowing you do to maintain them particularly along the sides.

The more you can vary the level and intensity of light getting to the forest floor the more you will vary the habitat

Have fun

Mac
Cheer Muldonach, I think we need to look a bit deeper into this one.
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Old 26-01-12   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

Can a management plan be done in the winter? What about all the flowers that come out in spring and summer, what happens if we kill something sprecial!!! Can we assess the canopy cover in winter or do we need to wait till summer? There's lots of fungus around but what creatures rely on it?

We're thinking of clearing out some of the holy, would this be bad for biodiversity? I don't think the birds would like it too much.
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Old 26-01-12   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

My advice would be not to rush. Woodland Management is all about slow time. First observe - then act. I would probably not take much action until I had observed for a full year. Then come up with a vision for the wood. What do you think it should be like in 100 years? I would also visit other local woodland to see if that helps. Also find out as much of the history of the wood as you can, again this can guide you as to where your wood should be going.

One plan could be to coppice the Sycamore on a rotation. That way it will regrow and you will have a never ending supply of firewood!
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Old 27-01-12   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

You could use veg oil in your chainsaw with mushroom spores in it- such as oyster and shiitake too.
FWIW I have limited experience in ancient woodland management, but the little i have had was largely the removal of sycamore from predominantly oak woodland.
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Old 27-01-12   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

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Originally Posted by Backpain View Post
Can a management plan be done in the winter? What about all the flowers that come out in spring and summer, what happens if we kill something sprecial!!! Can we assess the canopy cover in winter or do we need to wait till summer? There's lots of fungus around but what creatures rely on it?

We're thinking of clearing out some of the holy, would this be bad for biodiversity? I don't think the birds would like it too much.
Management plans can be put together at any time of year. If you speak to your local Biodiversity Records Center thery should help you with records of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and plants found in the area you are looking at - they normally work on a 2km radius of a set grid reference and will probably charge you for the info. This may or may not include your wood specifically, it depends on wether or not it's been surveyed and recorded before. It's a good place to start and will provide you with plenty of back ground knowledge on what to look for and what potential habitat you have.

From this you will be able to complete a phase 1 walkover survey so you have the underpinning information to help write or formulate a sound management plan, and it will take some of the guess work away. Or you could wait a few months and record it all yourself, but that can be quite a daunting task!

Its worth looking at the BAP species in your area also, and seeing if you can tailor any of your management for specific species, this will also get extra 'points' if your thinking of applying for FC grant aid. And also be an all round good thing to do. Depending on where abouts in the Midlands you are your woods could play host to some of the rarer Hair Streak Butterflys, such as the Black which is in a fairly perilous state at the moment.

Try to pick up on any signs of what has been done there before, and integrate this into any aims you may have for the wood now. If it has been undermanaged for the last 45 years or so, there may be historical records or even local people who could help fill in the blanks.

A sound management plan is well worth taking the time to complete, will help attract funding if you are looking at any and give you a good methodical timetable for getting the wood back to where it needs to be.

I've got a few template and previous management plans for ASNW, if you want them or any help with formulating one then drop me a pm, they could help you on your way a bit or give you some ideas.

It sounds like the Syc will be a good firewood source and some of the Oak standards could be looked at for conversion, or some trees haloed out to allow better growth if still semi mature. As others have said creation of habitat is important, and with 45 acres to go at it sounds like an interesting project.

Oak-Elm woods arn't that thick on the ground, so most of all - enjoy!
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Old 27-01-12   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Ancient Woodland

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1. What does a ectomycorrhizal oaks look like?
2. how will I know when I see a generalistic endomycorrhizal microfungi.
3. Sounds like we need to hire in a biologist to explain this one.
1. Quercus robur and Quercus petrea.
2. By looking at the tree species, see my list of endo- and ectomycorrhizal tree species.
3. No, not a (generalistic) biologist, but a mycologist and forest ecologist, see my post on mycorrhiza.
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