Sunday, May 17, 2009

Heather or Trees?

Those who know the North York Moors will know how trees are on the increase. When both the Scarborough, Guisborough and the Pickering roads to Whitby were fenced off in the 1970's to exclude sheep from the road sides these un-grazed areas are now becoming colonised by trees plus the odd one or two planted by people like me. I was talking to one of the full time-park rangers recently and he told me that the National Park Authority had at one time discussed cutting these roadside trees down but the idea had only been rejected on labour costs.

Most people will know that the entire NYM heather habitat was entirely created by man during the bronze age by a combination of deforestration, overgrazing and climate change. It is by definition an artifical habitat and so too therefore is all the wildlife associated with it. As these roadside verges prove, along with other areas of fenced off moorland, such as the area to the north of Fylingdales early warning centre, left to nature the Moorlands would soon turn to woodland.

So I discovered with interest from another ranger last week that two of my juniper trees I planted some 20 or 30 years ago on the side of a well know moorland road are now being looked after by the same national park that recently discussed removing roadside trees. I recently reported the fact that these two juniper trees have recently been partially covered in soil following road works. The parks I was told, are now going to remove the offending soil from around the trees to avoid permanent damage to the trees.

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