Clearing out Dead Wood
Warning, Forest Operations
by Kim Wilson
I am fortunate that each day I get to walk my dog in beautiful countryside much of which belongs to the National Trust. One of our favourite places to walk is Limpsfield Chart. It is a large wooded area that consists of both native and non-native trees. There are three main areas of non-natives, predominately pines that provide a dense, dark and almost silent space in the woods. These are my dog Theo’s favourite, he rolls in the fallen pine needles and digs in the rotten tree stumps. Not much grows below the top third of the trees as it’s so dark.
Over the last few months there have been ongoing forest operations in the woods. They are stripping out the pine trees with a view to re-plant natives and encourage new growth and wildlife into those dead places.
It looks awful. Great swathes of trees have been cut down, the earth churned by the huge machinery needed to complete the task and branches and small trees have been crushed and lay fallen on the paths.
All of us that use the wood have felt the loss of those trees, of the shelter that they provide from the wind and the sun and the rain. All of us it seems are mourning the loss of what were essentially dead trees. Why? Because change can seem difficult.
Despite knowing that once the forest operations are complete and the replanting finished there will be a beautiful, alive and vibrant wood that will encourage and sustain wildlife it’s hard to trust the process.
For many of us knowing that the benefit of that change will far outweigh the short term turmoil is still not enough to motivate us to fell that first tree. So how do we find the courage to take that first step? Focus on your desired outcome. Think about your future just as you want it. Think about the things that you will be doing, the ways you will be behaving, how you will feel differently.
Somewhere in the near future once the forest operations are complete, all of us that use the wood will benefit from the changes that clearing out the dead wood will create.