Time to use the wood and plant new trees

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

European Beech1lowTime to use the wood and plant new trees as young trees... new growth... absorbs more carbon that old growth. This, however, is something, I know, that certain people do not want to hear. The truth is, though, that when a tree gets to a certain age it become a net producer of carbon dioxide and also of methane, as it is already decaying from within and the older it gets the more this happens. This is the very reason why forestry fells trees of certain ages – and the felling times depend on the species of tree – and replants.

Many in the green movement, who have been “brainwashed” into believing that you must never ever cut down a tree, will scream blue murder if one suggests the proper management of woods and forests, which includes felling and restocking. Their argument, time and again, is that woods do not need to be managed and that Nature does it perfectly well.

As I have discussed and explained in my book “Managing our Woods” this is not really the case if the woods are to be of use to both man and the environment, especially when we are talking about (previously) managed woodlands and forests.

When woodlands (and other open spaces) that were once, long ago, managed places, are allowed to run wild, to “return to wilderness”, as it is often referred to, brambles and bracken take over and smother everything below thus giving neither rise to new tree growth nor is such a place any good for wildlife, as it lacks light.

However, before any misunderstandings come up, I am not talking about clear-felling but I am talking about making use of our broadleaved woodlands and forest areas and (re)turning them to and into coppice woods, where there trees are cut in certain time span rotations in order to provide timber and then be allowed to regrow, thus creating a perpetual wood that is alive and thriving and that is good for wildlife and all.

Aside from being good for the woods and the wildlife it is also good for the local economy and the environment.

As far as the local economy is concerned the management of those woods and harvesting of the timber is being done by local coppice workers and the wood worked and sold locally (as much and far as possible). This means work for a local person or a group of people and money from any sales remaining in the local area and circulating in the local economy. A win-win situation for all, not at least the woods.

© 2014