Today finally saw the end of an ongoing saga of the removal of a group of 21 dead alder trees at the southern end of the reserve by Ivy Lane. I originally discovered the trees in June, whilst carrying out a breeding bird survey and we decided to remove the trees in the autumn when any nesting birds would have moved on. The trees were in the process of being killed off by a tree disease know as Phytophthora, usually this wouldn’t be a problem as dead trees are a great habitat for wildlife especially woodpeckers, bats and fungi, but unfortunately the trees were leaning over Ivy Lane, power cables, telephone lines and gardens on the other side of the road, quite literally an accident waiting to happen. The first stage of the process was to survey the trees for bats, Trust ecologist and bat expert Sarah came out to survey the trees and fortunately found no bats. The next stage was to get a tree surgeon in and start removing the trees. However due to a combination of difficulty securing funding, busy schedules and unsuitable weather the job kept get getting postponed, and I was starting to worry that the trees would be blown down with the recent high winds… Incredibly only one tree did come down and some how only damaged the barbed wire fence on the reserve boundary!
The tree surgeons did one days work on the project before Christmas and then finally came back today and completed the task.
Many of the trees had to be taken down branch by branch, log by log to avoid damaging any of the power cables.
Some trees further back from the road just had the top removed, retaining features such as woodpecker holes and leaving the tree at the right height that if it does fall it won’t reach the road or over head cables.
A small amount of logs will be removed and sold as fire wood to generate some income for the reserve but most of the timber has been left as large sections mimicking the affect of a naturally fallen tree, providing habitats for dead wood dependant invertebrates such as fungi and beetle larvae. Needless to say I am very glad the area has been made safe and I’ll sleep like a log tonight! A massive thank you goes out to Chris and Ted of Treetech who carried out this very dangerous task at a specially reduced rate for the Trust.