eAlert: February 25, 2022 – Weathering the Storms

1. Updated guidance for afforestation proposed on or near important upland wader breeding areas in the North of England

Read our updated tips and new zonal wader maps.

We have worked with industry and colleagues from Defra to update proposed reforestation guidelines on or near important upland breeding wader areas in the north of England. Its objective is to ensure adequate consideration of the recovery of priority wader species when designing and establishing new woodlands. Due to the complexity of this work, a full update will not be completed in time for this survey season.

You can read more about the new wading bird zonal abundance maps we produced and included in our land information search in our recent blog post: New wader zonal maps – helping to ensure new trees are placed in the correct location. They can be used by anyone considering the creation of a woodlot to give an initial indication of the breeding potential of wading birds in the area before proceeding with an application.

Forest Establishment Planning Grant and Forest Establishment England bid applicants can be supported by the Forestry Commission and Natural England Region teams to take this advice into consideration when designing of their forests.

2. How does the England Woodland Creation offer work?

Find out in our new animation.

How the England Woodland Creation offer works

We have many new quick guides and case studies on our website to inspire and guide you through the process of planning a project and applying for funding.

3. Weathering the Storms: What to Do if You Have Windblown Wood

If your trees or woodlots have been affected by recent storms, we would like to remind customers that a felling permit is often still required for clearing after a gale. Trees that are left standing and are not an immediate danger will require a permit. If you have the slightest doubt whether or not you need a felling permit, consult our advice, Tree felling: obtain an authorizationor contact your local forestry officer.

We would like to ask everyone applying for a windblown logging permit to add Windblow clearance to the name of the forest on your application. Please do not include routine logging proposals in the same logging permit application as areas affected by the storm; make a separate request for clearance of areas affected by storm damage.

We are asking for a clear indication that the license application is for windthrow to allow forestry officers to use the exemption for logging licenses to be published on the public register for consultation which was announced by Defra in September of the last year. These exemptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis primarily to address any tree safety or health issues.

4. Windblown wood and biosecurity

What is the threat and what can we do to reduce it?

With recent storms and the need to clear windblown timber, we need to consider the impact of biosecurity and the likelihood of certain pests and diseases becoming more prevalent in windblown trees. Some tree pests are likely to feed on dead wood and will not feed on dying wood or stressed trees with a reduced defensive response. However, a number of insect species are currently of concern and to help reduce the threat they pose, woodlot owners should take steps to manage storm-damaged spruce trees.

typographic ips Largest eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle. This species can establish on windblown spruce and has caused extensive damage in central and eastern Europe. There is an outbreak of the beetle in the south of England and restrictions on the movement of spruce timber are in place within the cordoned off area established to control the pest. We recommend forest owners and managers take the time to clean up fallen and broken spruce trees in the South East of England before spring when the first bark beetles emerge and disperse. For permission to begin felling, moving or processing spruce material from the demarcated area, please contact [email protected] Although we would advise people to remain vigilant, the likelihood establishment of this insect in the north of England is somewhat weaker.

Ips sexdentatus can also benefit from trees damaged by storms. This beetle is associated with pine and where populations are high, the beetle can infest and damage live but stressed trees as well as dead wood.

Ips cembrae is a third species of bark beetle that has the potential to cause damage to stressed trees where bark beetle populations are high and will likely benefit from more storm-damaged wood in the environment. This beetle is associated with larch.

Ips sexdentatus and Ips cembrae are likely to pose a greater threat in southern England, where warmer temperatures lead to faster life cycles and faster population growth. Again, we recommend that owners of woodlots containing tamarack and pine remain vigilant and remove fallen and broken trees.

We urge woodlot owners and managers to exercise caution when mapping blowdowns, salvaging wood, and clearing sites. Considerable strain may be present in lodged trees presenting life-threatening hazards to those harvesting the timber. Following Trained Harvesting Contractors FISA guidelines should be used to reduce risk.

Finally, those who move from one site to another must follow the principles of ‘Keep it clean’ campaign and clean vehicles, boots and equipment before moving to the next site to reduce the risk of accidentally spreading pests or disease.

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