Why Do We Cut Down Trees & Scrub?
We love trees! But as part of managing a healthy, biodiverse greenspace it is sometimes necessary to carry out tree felling. There are a number of reasons why we might be cutting a tree:
Invasives species removal –
It is very important for biodiversity to remove invasive non-native species from our greenspaces. In High Weald woodland, cherry laurel and rhododendron have become a significant threat to our native woodland habitat by rigorously spreading and preventing native species from thriving. Some native species such as holly and birch can also become invasive if left unmanaged.
This is a traditional woodland management technique where trees are cut right down to the stump to encourage new, multiple stem growth. In the High Weald, traditional coppice tree species include sweet chestnut, hazel, and hornbeam.
A healthy woodland ecosystem is one which is diverse in species and in structure. If a woodland habitat is too crowded or has lots of same-age trees, thinning may be carried out to allow more light access and space to the other trees and to the ground and shrub layers. If we are managing wood pasture habitat this also requires more open spaces to enable the grassland habitat below to thrive – Southborough Common is a good example of this.
Ride Management and Glades –
Creating rides (wide paths and tracks) and glades in woodland provides important open areas that increase the health of the woodland through light access and the provision of micro-habitats.
It is also necessary to prevent scrub from becoming overly dominant in our nature reserves. Areas of bramble and bracken are important for wildlife but we do have to cut it back occasionally to facilitate a healthy balance of habitat types.
You can find more information on woodland management good practice by visiting the Natural England web pages and government guidance.