Monthly Archives: April 2016

Do you know your trees?

The Forestry Commission has an on-line tree name trail which starts with leaf shape.  In setting out its top tips for identifying tree types, the Commission says:

Trees can be divided into two main groups: those with flattened, wide leaves (broadleaved or deciduous trees) and those that have needle-like leaves (conifers).

Most broadleaved trees lose their leaves in the winter but most conifers (evergreen trees) keep their leaves.  It is helpful to also look at other features such as the tree shape, bark, buds flowers (all trees have them in some form, mostly in Spring and Summer), fruit and seeds (mostly in late Summer and Autumn).

All sound advice, no doubt.  But this is a peculiar time to identify trees as, on many species, the leaves are only just emerging, and their (later) distinctive shapes can be hard to discern.  That means it’s a time of year when other features (bark, shape, buds and flowers) make their strongest contribution to identification.

Although walking round the Forest of Avon is always a joy, April and May are particularly wonderful months to see trees in their glory.

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Forestry Careers in 60 Seconds

A new video produced by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) and sponsored by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is showing young people the diversity of roles in the forestry sector and challenging stereotypes – all in less than one minute.

Forestry Careers in 60 Seconds shows the numerous career paths that the sector has to offer young people – from forest management and timber processing to plant pathology and ecosystem management. It aims to tackle traditional misconceptions of the forestry profession as being only a manual and male-orientated one.

Shireen Chambers, ICF Executive Director, said:

“The old image of foresters as bearded men with chainsaws is so out of step with modern forestry professionals. We want to show that whatever your gender, whether you’re an outdoor or indoor type, business or science-orientated – there is a role in the forestry sector to suit you.”

Forestry Careers in 60 Seconds was filmed with the kind sponsorship of Forestry Commission Scotland and support from Confor. Visit the ICF YouTube channel to view the video now or use the hashtag #GrowingCareers on Twitter.

Posted in: Latest News, Woodland Management |

1500 more trees on Bedminster Down

This picture shows staff from Bristol’s ‘Bristol Hotel’ enjoying a well-earned break from planting 1500 trees at Colliter’s Wood on Bedminster Down.

They joined volunteers from UWE to do this, with the help of Alun Griffiths contractors and North Somerset Council.

The Trust also worked with volunteers to plant a woodland and a hedge at Stockwood Open Space as part of Bristol City Council’s 1 Tree per Child project; and [ii] with South Gloucestershire Council to agree street tree planting in Staple Hill and elsewhere.


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The Trees

The Trees is a new book by Ali Shaw, published by Bloomsbury Circus.

It will likely be a nightmare of a book for anyone who likes trees and who sees them as rather benign creatures which make life a little bit more worth living, in every sense.

Here’s an extract from the publisher’s website which sets the scene.

“There came an elastic aftershock of creaks and groans and then, softly softly, a chinking shower of rubbled cement.  Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene.  Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins.  There is no warning.  No chance to prepare.  They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, beating at the air with their branches, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest.  Buildings are destroyed and power lines felled.  Broken bodies, still wrapped in tattered bed linen, hang among the twitching leaves.  Something creeps and whispers overhead.  A wolf begins to howl …”

One review says:

“A strange and vivid journey into an ancient forest that has taken over the world with force.  The Trees is a thought-provoking meditation on what it means to be wild.”


“The Trees does for trees what Hitchcock did for birds.  You have been warned.”

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More trees for urban schools

Schools across England’s cities are being offered free packs of saplings by the Woodland Trust, partly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [DEFRA].

Overall, it’s hoped that one million trees will be planted by 2020.  Woodland Trust CEO, Beccy Speight, said that the aim is to “bring an oasis of green” into school communities.

A pilot group of nearly 800 schools received about 35,000 one and two-year-old saplings last week, and by 2020, DEFRA will have paid for 400,000 trees, with the rest funded separately by corporate sponsors and other partners.

The BBC website has a feature showing a the reactions of a number of schools to the scheme.


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Targeted tree planting can reduce flooding

A study, led by the Universities of Birmingham and Southampton, has shown that strategic planting of trees on floodplains could reduce the height of flooding in towns downstream by up to 20 per cent.

Dr Simon Dixon, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Forest Research (BIFOR), was lead author of the study.

Using a digital terrain model and a hydrological model simulation, scientists were able to show that targeted tree planting and restoration could reduce flood risk by slowing down the flow of water and the larger the area included in the work and the older the forests became, the more reductions in flood peak height would be achieved.

More information can be found here.

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Green Tree Schools Awards

The Woodland Trust’s Green Tree Schools Award is designed to help schools celebrate woods and trees by completing environmental projects and encouraging outdoor learning.  Over 7,000 schools are already taking part.

Schools gain points for completing activities and progress through bronze, silver and gold levels to the prestigious platinum award.  The Green Tree Schools Award can also contribute to other award schemes such as Eco-Schools.

To find out more, click here.

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New Gruffalo learning pack launched

The Forestry Commission’s National Learning Team has developed an official Gruffalo Teacher’s Pack which is linked to the Early Years and Key Stage 1 curriculum and is themed around the well-known Gruffalo story and characters.

It’s designed to provide teachers with the tools and activities to help children learn about forests through hands-on, practical activities.

You can download the pack here, or email for more information.

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Videos from the World Economic Forum

Here is a number of videos that show how the world’s forests have changed.

The WEF website also has charts and diagrams to show the state of the world’s forests today.


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