Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Highbury Park today - Woodland Wednesday, and Nature Improvement Areas

Over the next few weeks until mid March there will be opportunities to engage with like minded volunteers, interact with nature and contribute to the management of both woodland and grassland, as well as exercising mind and body during Woodland Wednesdays at Highbury Park.

Today we continued coppicing, mostly hazel, and opening up the woodland canopy to allow much needed light to reach the lower levels; our efforts are designed to diversify the woodland plantation, adding layers with new regenerating growth in spring and added wildflowers thanks to Eco Park and NIA.

Coppicing at the Highbury Park plantation
A rather worrying observation led to a discussion regarding the level of bark stripping on 25 year old oaks.

Stripped bark on 20 yaer old oak

It seems that squirrels attack oaks and strip the bark, particularly on trees between the age of 10 and 40 years, and in many cases stripping the bark to ground level, as in this situation at Highbury. The results are not good and difficult to explain in ecological terms, but some accounts suggest occurances are greater when oaks are planted next to mature woodland or near mature individual oaks, as again, in this situation at Highbury.

Most of the oaks in the 28 year old plantation at Highbury Park have squirrel damage to some degree.

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