Thinning a woodland can leave the remaining trees vulnerable to wind damage, as they are suddenly subject to stronger winds than they have grown to cope with supported by their neighbours. Some exceptionally strong gusts over the winter caused quite a lot of damage in Fingle Woods and clearing up the aftermath has certainly added to the Fingle team’s workload.
This is one example of why it is so important to be patient, gradually removing the conifers while allowing the woodland and its residents time to adjust. We aim to promote the spread of what already exists there in shady corners and the growth of what lies dormant on the dark forest floor, gently nurturing and protecting it as we give it the opportunity to take hold. This should help to promote a varied age structure in the woods, providing a mixture of habitats that support greater biodiversity and a healthily functioning ecosystem. Letting some of the conifers grow on to maturity allows us to produce valuable timber that can generate income to go back into the woodland.
Watching the spring sunlight cast upon the bursting buds of the trees that we have given a new breath of life has certainly been rewarding. I love to imagine how magnificent the woods will be in centuries to come. The pockets of broadleaved woodland that cling on among the plantations give a glimpse of an exciting future, but the whole woods also tell a rich history of human culture and industry. What a place. – Dylan, NT Ranger