Category Archives: Forestry

Suzanne Simard talks about “mother trees” and the plant-fungal network

Good interview with one of the major researchers in the field of plant-fungi interaction. Video by Dan McKinney via the University of British Columbia on Blip.tv.

It kind of surprises me that tree communication is still news to people — witness the breathless post in Treehugger — but I guess it takes years for radical new ideas to get out there. The bit about dying trees transferring information to living trees before they die was new to me, though. And I like Dr. Simard’s use of evocative language throughout. “Mother trees” — absolutely, why not?

The New Sylva

Authors Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet have a blog following the progress of their work in progress, The New Sylva. This aims to be an updated version of John Evelyn‘s famous work seventeenth century survey of British trees Sylva, or A Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber :

Three hundred and fifty years after Evelyn first published his tour de force, we again realise that there is an important if not unprecedented role for trees, forests and timber in our lives, and with this, an imperative need to refresh our view. As society continues to experience increasing environmental change, trees will become more valued and needed, not only as beautiful plants shaping our landscapes and city parks, affirming our sense of place and heritage, but also as our most green renewable resource, and one of our most important environmental protectors. Trees provide carbon-lean products for construction, heat and energy, while at the same time they can control flooding, soil erosion, and reduce the destructive power of winds. Woodlands help to maintain the quality of our drinking water, provide habitat for wildlife, and play a crucial role in helping biodiversity adapt to climate change.

The New Sylva will bring the essence of John Evelyn’s most celebrated work to a new readership. It will integrate sensitively parts of his original, visionary and very beautiful prose, with a much-needed contemporary review. It will deliver authoritative scholarship in a style that is brief, clear, accessible, and pleasurable to read, and for the very first time, it will be copiously illustrated. The New Sylva will celebrate mankind’s relationship with trees through a creative integration of history, science and art.

One of their blog’s recent posts shows a time lapse film of one of the illustrations in progress – six hours of work reduced to two concentrated minutes!

Managing old-growth forests for “Stradivarius trees”

John Laurenson (BBC News) writes about “Stradivarius trees: Searching for perfect musical wood” — such a great story, it prompted me to bring this blog out of retirement.

Pellegrini is a tree picker. He will find you the spruce in 10,000 that is just right. He will find you the “Stradivarius tree”.

“Lentement, lentement, lentement,” he says. “Slowly, slowly, slowly”.

That’s how violin trees should grow.

“Up in these mountains, they grow so slowly sometimes they stop growing altogether. They just gather strength. There are trees up here that are a thousand years old,” he says.

[...]

Pellegrini “gardens” the forest, as he puts it. But he gardens for people who will not be born for hundreds of years. So that there will be fine resonance spruce in the 24th Century.

Read the rest.

The march of the mother trees

Pip at European Trees paints a compelling picture of the slow eastward drift of traditionally managed woodlands in France.

If we had access to satellite imagery from the last two centuries would we be able to create time lapse aerial photos of a woodland canopy showing the Mother trees as a front, semi circular waves marching eastwards similar to the pattern seen at the front of lapping waves on a shallow beach?

Read the rest of the post to learn just what the heck he’s talking about here.

Too much of a good thing? The trouble with unplanned urban tree planting

The UK blog Save Our Woods features a guest post from the chair of a tenant management organization (TMO) for a housing estate in London. George Arkless finds himself in the awkward position of having to advocate for tree removal, and reflects on the consequences of poor planning for urban trees.

Poor planning, in the residents’ view, means that the problems we now face are numerous, and while anyone from the council we have invited to look at the problems have agreed with us felling trees is such a sensitive matter that no one has been willing to put it in writing.

[...]

Just as there is delight when I get out of London and see trees in their true magnificence, or seeing a tree that is alive with life, or a tree so beautiful it just takes your breath away. Why should I need to leave the neighbourhood I live in to see such beauty around me?

Read the rest.

A Giant Falls

The Guanacaste is one of the biggest tree species in Central America. A post in the Lower Dover Field Journal shows what it’s like to fell (or at least radically trim) one of them — a big lightning-killed specimen next to an electric line.

Unlike more developed countries, the power company doesn’t have access to large cherry pickers, and quite frankly, a tree of this size would require an enormous reach. So they took to the old fashion way, climbing, ropes, chainsaws, and a pulley rope system.

Visit to a remnant of the great Caledonian Forest

Scots pine in the Ryvoan Pass, ScotlandAsh at Treeblog.co.uk reports on a visit to Caledonian pinewood in Ryvoan Pass, Glenmore, sharing photos of magnificent Scots pine, a bit of info on the Forest, and a brief 20th-century history of the Glenmore remnant.

When forestry cultures clash

Pip Howard at europeantrees maintains that British Woodland & Forest Design is not suitable for Export. He explains that there are historic and cultural reasons behind forest design in the UK and France, principally based on boundary lines of landowners, and the alteration of this system by expats moving to seek a better lifestyle with land in France is leading to problems. Can they adopt a new system allowing for the best management to guard against forest pests and diseases, or are traditional methods simply too culturally engrained?

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