Bringing Woodlands to Life

Friday 6th December 2013

Lush woodlandLush woodland

This winter, The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country will begin work to transform overgrown, dark woodlands into beautiful areas carpeted with lush, colourful wildflowers and filled with wildlife.

In the months ahead they will embark on projects in places such as Canon Hill Park, Smestow Valley and Rowley Hills funded by the Birmingham & Black Country Nature Improvement Area to improve woodlands. By thinning dense areas of young planted woodland and introducing new plant and tree species, they hope to create attractive areas for people to enjoy and for wildlife to flourish.

Chopping trees down is not what people expect The Wildlife Trust to do, but there are important reasons for doing so, as Su James of The Wildlife Trust explains: “Where there’s dense woodland, light doesn’t reach the woodland floor and there’s no space for new woodland plants to grow. Instead of carpets of beautiful flowers providing a much needed food source for bees, butterflies and other insects, all you get is bare ground.

“We want to engage local schools and community groups in the projects so that volunteers will be trained on how to manage woodlands and will learn about our diverse local wildlife.”

Over the last 30 years many new woodlands have been planted across Birmingham & the Black Country. The important task of managing these has not, however, always been carried out. To remedy the situation, The Wildlife Trust will thin plantations to help existing trees to mature and encourage the growth of native woodland flowers like bluebell, wood anemone and primrose with the help of seedlings which have been prepared for this purpose by their “Growing Local Flora” project.

They will also use the material gathered from thinning trees for the benefit of wildlife. For example, beetle larvae can feed on the wood as it begins to decompose, and they’ll stack some of the logs to help create hibernacula for reptiles, amphibians and mammals.  

Tagged with: Cannon Hill, Flora, NIA, Rowley Hills, Woodlands