Those attending the talk organised by the Friends of Bourne Wood, on some of the butterflies, bugs and beetles found in woodland, enjoyed a very informative evening.
Dr Keith Porter very cleverly took us on a tour of the different areas of the woodland and described which species may be found there. Starting with the grassy paths and their Speckled Wood butterflies which are known to most of us and, finishing with the life in the tall trees and the Purple Hairstreak butterfly which are difficult to see, as they spend their time around the tops of oak trees!
He described the lifestyle of some of the butterflies and bugs, including the ways they lay their eggs and how they hibernate through the winter, often as tiny caterpillars. In finishing he left us with the challenge of finding species that are known to be in the area, but have not yet been recorded in the wood, suggesting that they could well be found there.
Our thanks go to Keith for his very interesting talk, and for stepping in at short notice.
Bourne Wood is managed as a commercial forest by the Forestry Commission (FC), although conservation of wildlife and recreation are given more precedence in recognition of higher public usage compared to the large, more remote conifer forests in the uplands with fewer visitors. FC was established in 1919 to address Britain’s declining woodland and timber resources, a trend that had commenced in the Middle Ages and had reached an all-time low by the beginning of the 20th Century. This decline was compounded by the outbreak of World War 1 when the country was no longer able to rely on timber imports.
The main purpose of forestry is to grow and harvest or fell trees for timber for a wide range of outlets and uses including for the domestic construction industry, paper production, the manufacture of panels or board, fencing and pallets and to a lesser extent, fuel. Almost four million tonnes of wood are harvested every year from England and Scotland’s public forests. Forestry supports local rural economies by creating employment and supporting forestry contractors who both make use of local facilities and services.
Bourne Wood produces both hardwood timber from broad-leaved species such as oak and wild cherry and softwood from conifers such as Corsican and Scots Pine and European Larch. The vast majority of timber extraction from UK forests is from softwoods, many of which are from plantations established in the 20th Century. Some softwoods have been planted into ancient woodland sites such as at Bourne. All Forestry Commission woods are managed sustainably such that new trees are planted, or allowed to regenerate naturally, to replace those that have been felled and removed.
Many softwoods are harvested after 60 years whereas for a hardwood such as oak, the rotation may be as long as 150 years. In addition to the felling and extraction of the final timber/tree ‘crop’ at harvestable age, a selection of trees are removed at intervals after their initial establishment to reduce the density of trees in a plantation, improve the quality and growth of the remaining trees and produce a saleable final product. This is known as thinning. Normally the first thinning is undertaken when trees have reached between 10 and14 metres in height but the exact timing is dependent on the tree species, the nature of the local environment and financial and marketing considerations.
Acknowledgement contributions from John Wilcockson.
The Friends of Bourne Wood would like to confirm that they are unable to hold the Santa in Bourne wood event this year. It is with deep regret that this decision has been made, but due to the lack of volunteers in previous years and the number of volunteers required to make the event run smoothly, this difficult decision has been made.
If in subsequent years sufficient volunteers are found then this will be reconsidered.
Apologies for any disappointment, and if you would like to offer to help in future years then please contact the Friends’.