9 July 2014

Research blast: Habitat ecology (09-07-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to habitat ecology and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).

11 June 2014

Research blast: Habitat ecology (11-06-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to habitat ecology and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).

For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.

Research blast: Forest health (11-06-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from a pair of recent studies relating to forest health and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).

For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.

24 May 2014

Broad-bodied chaser

The brightening of a woodland walk by the sight of dragonflies is something that I know I will never tire of, and the experience is that much more rewarding when they rest on a perch for long enough to allow close inspection, as a broad-bodied chaser (Libellula depressa; pictured in this post) did on a recent walk.

18 May 2014

The Drinker caterpillar


Found typically in grassland, but also in woodland, one of the largest hairy caterpillars to be seen in Britain is that of The Drinker moth (Euthrix potatoria), pictured in this post. It is listed in my field guide as being 75mm in length and is named for its reputed larval habit of sipping dew.

Acorn weevil

In Kruger National Park, South Africa, the point that there is more to see than large mammals is made by pairing each of the "Big Five" with a much smaller namesake in an alternative collection branded the "Little Five". This includes, for instance, the rhino beetle and the antlion.

A similar approach could be applied in British deciduous woodland – pairing, for instance, hawthorn and the hawthorn shieldbug. Another candidate for inclusion in this set would be the acorn weevil (Circulio glandium), pictured in this post. Measuring just 4–8mm in length, but crammed with detail, this species merits examination through a loupe hand lens.

15 May 2014

Herb-Paris

Herb-Paris, pictured in this post, is one of Britain's most distinct woodland wildflowers, if not one of the easiest to find. I was pointed towards a couple of patches by someone in the know at a Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve, and they really did make for spectacular sights. The plant is a perennial of damp woodlands (typically on chalky soils), and it is an ancient woodland indicator species.

Research blast: Policy and management (15-05-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to policy and management and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).

For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.

Research blast: Stand dynamics (15-05-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to stand dynamics and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).

For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.

9 May 2014

Woundwort shieldbug

I had heard before that, in the right spot, shieldbugs and their allies can be found in considerable numbers and variety. This is something I was recently fortunate enough to experience first hand, while strolling past a patch of vegetation on a woodland edge. The woundwort shieldbugs (Eysarcoris venustissimus) pictured in this post were sharing their quarters with hairy shieldbugs (Dolycoris baccarum), green shieldbugs (Palomena prasina), several Rhopalus subrufus, and at least one Coreus marginatus. A little later, in the continuation of the woodland across a busy road, I was able to add Harpocera thoracica to my morning's bug list.

27 April 2014

Blossom of the Midland hawthorn

The Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is one of many tree species competing during the spring in British woodland and hedgerow for the attention of pollinators.

21 April 2014

Research blast: Habitat ecology (21-04-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to habitat ecology and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).

For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.

Bluebells in hornbeam woodland


It would be highly remiss of a website publishing regular posts on nature in British woodland to neglect the bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) at this time of year. And this week they would appear to be at their very best, at least in the woods of Hertfordshire.

14 April 2014

Satellite remote sensing for biodiversity research and conservation applications

Coordination of research efforts between the remote-sensing and ecology scientific communities may have a vital role to play in the conservation of biodiversity and protection of ecosystem functions. A special themed issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B published today focuses on how integrative approaches combining ecological knowledge and satellite-based information are enabling an improved understanding of the mechanisms responsible for changes in patterns of biodiversity.

Two of the articles relate directly to forestry and brief descriptions of these are provided below, along with links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase is required for access).

13 April 2014

Forests for the People: The Story of America's Eastern National Forests (Island Press, 2013)

It is clear from the opening pages of Forests for the People: The Story of America's Eastern National Forests that the work is an undertaking of ambitious scope. To tell the story of a single national forest from formation impetuses through to present-day challenges would be daunting for most scholars; Johnson and Govatski have here tackled the forests of half of the United States (defined as those east of the 100th meridian). But by skilfully drawing together threads and teasing out parallels, the authors achieve an "economy of scale" and the book is much more about exploring overarching themes and broad underlying issues than providing a catalogue of forest histories.

Ignoring the extensive notes section and bibliography, the book is essentially two-fifths political history and three-fifths modern case examples, with these two areas covered in discrete parts. The book should be a satisfying purchase even for a reader who was interested in only the historical context or the modern management challenges. Nevertheless, a reading of the entire book is greatly rewarded, as the modern management practices are, of course, best understood within the context of the policy and history underpinning the national forests' formation.

Research blast: Forest health (13-04-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to forest health and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).
For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.

29 March 2014

Can thinning be used to improve habitat for capercaillie in Scots pine plantations?

In Scotland, semi-natural Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) woodland is considered the prime habitat for capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), but pine plantations represent a far greater proportion of the nation's forests. The potential brood habitat for capercaillie could be increased within plantations of Scots pine by manipulating light levels to favour the establishment of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), with the goal of achieving a ground flora with more than 20% bilberry cover, ideally without a conflict with management for timber production.

Research blast: Stand dynamics (29-03-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to stand dynamics and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).
For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.

Research blast: Policy and management (29-03-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to policy and management and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).

For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.

23 March 2014

Research blast: Habitat ecology (23-03-14)

This post briefly summarizes findings from five recent studies relating to habitat ecology and provides links to the full papers (a log-in or purchase may be required for access).

For a description of this and other research blast categories, click here.