10 simple ideas to make your forest ecologically more diverse!
Steven Meyen, Teagasc Forestry Advisor outlines ten simple ideas to make your forest ecologically more diverse. Most of these measures are easy to achieve and they will make a world of difference! Watch as Steven explains in a short video here
1: Keep livestock out
Animals such as deer, cattle, sheep, horses and goats can do a lot of damage in a forest. They destroy the next tree generation by eating the young tree seedlings. They also strip the bark off trees, giving pests and diseases a helping hand.
2: Favour deadwood
Fungi, bacteria, lichens, mosses, insects and birds are essential links in any healthy woodland ecosystem cycle. They often depend on lying and standing dead trees as a source of food, shelter or as nesting sites.
3: Love weeds
Allow plants such as nettles, briars and ivy to flourish. They provide a very important food source for many moth and butterfly species. They're also very valuable groundcover and food for many birds.
4: Choose tree species
Trees such as willows and oak are ecologically very valuable. Also consider trees that bear loads of flowers and berries such as rowan or elder. The Teagasc Forestry website has a handy Tree Selector Guide to help you choose.
5: Cherish open spaces
Many birds, bats or butterflies will use open areas in or adjoining your woodland as a feeding and sunning site while the neighbouring trees will provide shelter, nesting sites and lookout posts.
6: Thin your forest
By thinning your forest, you're letting more light reach the forest floor. This will attract more plants and animals, also encouraging the next generation of trees to develop.
7: Boost your shrub layer
New tree saplings will have a much better chance to develop once you’ve thinned your forest. You can add to this emerging shrub layer by underplanting with shade-tolerant trees such as hazel and holly.
8: Connect habitats
You can greatly increase the ecological value of your woodland by connecting it with other nearby habitats. By doing so, you're allowing plants and animals to move across the countryside.
9: Consider CCF
If possible at all, avoid clearfelling your forest. Instead, consider adapting to a continuous cover forest management system.
10: Grow your own trees
It’s easy to grow your own trees from seed or from cuttings. It is also a lot of fun! For inspiration, look around you to see what trees are doing well locally.
Most of these measures are simple and easy to do but will have a big impact.
In summary, Steven hopes that this short video will encourage you to make your woodland ecologically more diverse!
You might also like to read these articles by Steven Meyen -
- How to improve the biodiversity value of your forest - Part 1
- How to improve the biodiversity value of your forest - Part 2
The Teagasc Forestry Department issues an article on a Forestry topic every Friday here on Teagasc Daily Subscribe to: Forestry e-News Keep up-to-date with the Teagasc Forestry Department here or follow them on Social Media here