Sunday, 21 October 2018

Before and After photos

In late August/early September 2015  I took some photos  to monitor a few areas of the wood prior to the Scots Pine thin in late 2015, and again directly after the thin. These are paired with photos taken this year from roughly the same viewpoint to record the slow but sure recovery of the wood during the subsequent 3 years.

Ground flora

September 2015  The only green on the woodland floor is bracken

 October 2018  with bracken removed and pines  thinned, a more diverse flora is starting to flourish.

Look closely and it can be seen that the 'after' photos show more growth . The  ground doesn't look nearly so brown now, whereas in 2015 it was thick with pine needles, with bracken just about the only visible green growth on the woodland floor. The Scots Pine thin has meant fewer needles covering the ground with a thick brown blanket, and this, combined with bracken removal,  has allowed much more ground flora to come through, in particular,  ferns, heather,  grasses, and also a vigorous under story composed chiefly of  alder buckthorn, hazel, and  willow; Progress is quite slow but there is noticeable improvement.

When the 33% thin was done in late 2015, the forester said we should do the next one in about 5 years time, that is, in late 2020,  but this now seems too soon. We are aiming for  'continuous cover '  at Old Copse. This is the management of forest and woodland without clear felling (removing all the trees either in one section, or overall),  but instead, to use a programme of thinning the trees to encourage regeneration  and allow for under planting.   The trees we planted in gaps between the remaining pines after the thin, need to grow taller and make more shade before we remove further pines.  We intend  to gradually re-plant more broadleaf trees each year. and must monitor the light levels in order to create and maintain a balanced light situation. Too much light and the wood gets swamped with bramble and bracken, both of which inhibit the growth of ground flora; too little light  and  most plants  fail to grow. Bringing Old Copse into better balance isn't going to happen quickly; it's a long, careful process to return the wood to  full health and bio-diversity.

In the pine plantation - looking east

September  2015

September 2018

In the pine plantation - looking south

                                                                    September 2015

September  2018

                                                                   September 2015

                                                                    September 2018

View up the timber extraction track (looking east)

December 2015  

June  2018  

Extraction track

December 2015

October 2018

August 2018  View  from top of Extraction track

OC2 Main ride looking south

December 2015

July  2018

OC1 Main ride looking south

February  2015  

September 2018

There are more 'before' photos in previous blogposts. See  'Another year at Old Copse: A Summary  29/12/2015,' and  'In praise of the humble mattock: 30/01/16'