1 Jan 2013

Why deadwood is important; make a pile now!

Happy new year to all my blog readers! To start the eyar I'm talking deadwood....Some will be familiar with the Randwick Woodfuel project which I started and is now part of Transition Stroud. My film here covers some of what we get up to, but an issue I've not covered enough is that of deadwood...

Indeed this was picked up by the wonderful Ellen Winter, Stroud's Glos Wildlife Trusts' Community Wildlife Officer. In discussing with her ways to extend the woodfuel project she rightly noted re the film and a previous blog about a similar scheme by a colleague: "Just one niggle - there's no mention of the biodiversity value standing or lying deadwood, although approx 20% of woodland species directly depend on it.... Recommendations are that at least 10% of all wood cut is left as deadwood piles or that 11-20% of total stems contain dead or decaying wood."

I've raised dead wood previously with the National Trust....they noted that leaving wood was a real problem as people stole it from the woodlands. The only places possible to stack wood seems to be well off the paths......but I wonder if in next years Woodfuel group meetings we could look to create some piles somewhere? Anyway I have just read some of the Forestry Commission's excellent report this year 'Managing deadwood in forests and woodlands' by Jonathan Humphrey and Sallie Bailey - it really made me appreciate how valuable deadwood is.....so I will be extending the pile I already have in a corner of the garden!

Here's the opening of the report: "In the UK up to a fifth of woodland species depend on dead or dying wood for all or part of their life cycle. Generally speaking, the greater the volume of deadwood the greater the value of the woodland for biodiversity, such that the amount of deadwood in forests and woodlands is now used as a key international indicator of the biodiversity of forest ecosystems."

You can download a pdf free from note 4 on this page: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/news1/C137AC398D121ECC80257A0E0039C8D3

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