Woodlands

CEL staff have experience of carrying out many types of woodland management.  Some of the commoner work is described below.  We are also able to work with other specialised contractors such as tree surgeons to carry out other tree related work.

Coppicing

Coppicing is a traditional way of managing woodlands in Britain.  It consists of cutting trees down to ground level and allowing them to re-grow from the stump on a rotation (some cut every year).  They grow back very quickly as they have a good root system and tend to send up lots of new shoots.  This was traditionally done in England to create flexible timber such a willow for basket making.  It was also done to get firewood.  A side effect of the practice is opening up the canopy allowing more light to reach the woodland floor thereby helping to support a range of woodland flowers. 

Glade management

Glades are an essential part of any woodland.  They are more open with higher light levels and so support a wide range of woodland pants.  This makes them important for many insects (e.g. butterflies, bees, hover flies etc) and consequently good feeding areas for birds. 

Naturally glades would be created by large trees falling  and often kept open by grazing and trampling.  Now they are usually created and maintained by cutting.  CEL can use chainsaws, strimmers, mowers  and small tractor mounted machinery to do this cutting.  Often the small machinery used by CEL allows access to areas where there are only narrow paths or gates, which are problems for many other contractors.

Bird and Bat boxes

Bird boxes can be an important resource for many woodland birds.  They come in a variety of different sizes and shapes to suit different species but basically they all aim to create a the equivalent of a cavity in a tree or rocks etc.  They are an important alternative if dead trees have to be felled and provide lasting nesting sites which are relatively safe from common garden predators such as cats, close to feeding areas.  They also give essential winter protection for roosting birds.  It is recommended that a range of boxes be installed on trees in all three areas.  Normally a mixture of hole fronted boxes (liked by tits, nuthatches and sparrows) and open fronted (preferred by robins and wrens) are installed.  Larger more specialised boxes such as tawny owl box can also be erected to encourage these birds to use the site.

Bat boxes are similar in design to bird boxes but only have a narrow slit to allow the animals to enter.  They can be important for roosting bats and are a good way to encourage bats to utilise the site.  Once a box is used as roost it must not be disturbed as the animals are legal protected from disturbance.   Larger hibernation boxes can also be installed.

CEL can suppluy and install most types of bat and bird boxes.

 

Dead Wood

Dead is an essential habitat for many species, especially invertebrates, bats, mosses and fungi, and is necessary for the continued 'health' of any woodland ecosystem. Standing dead wood is also important for woodpeckers and other birds for feeding and nesting. Removal of dead wood and 'tidying-up' leads to relatively sterile conditions and takes away an essential part of the woodland ecology. In a woodland nature reserve the aim is usually to provide as much dead wood as feasible - lying, standing, and hanging - without compromising other management aims.

However, standing dead wood can be a safety hazard and this must always take precedence in areas of high public use. Consequently any trees which are in a demonstrably unsafe condition must be made safe especially where they are near boundaries or footpaths - although a precautionary approach erring on the side of minimising habitat damage is preferable.

Dead wood from management can be left on-site as a habitat – either in large-log piles or scattered as low brash. In some cases it can be used as a material in appropriate management tasks such as path edging, informal seating etc.