Woodland rejuvenation begins in the park
A host of volunteers joined our gardeners this week to begin the mammoth task of planting more than 500 new trees in the woodland.
For the past 5 years, improving the condition and biodiversity of our trees has been a key priority of our woodland management plan.
By increasing the number of species in the woodland we hope to future-proof the area against threats from climate change and disease.
Phytophthora ramorum (which can cause sudden oak death) and Ash dieback have been identified in some of our trees and shrubs over the past few years. Robust measures were put in place to ensure these diseases have been conrolled before new saplings are planted - but the threat from such diseases remains high and health inspections continue to be crucial.
Our woodland has been dominated by Sitka spruce and Scots pine for the past 80 years. This monoculture approach to the woodland structure has resulted in widespread damage from invasive species and disease, without providing the necessary variety of habitats needed for other wildlife to succeed.
Field maple, hawthorn, cherry, silver birch, oak and beech are just some of the varieties which have been planted over the past few days. A wider range of species reduces the chances of infection from any one disease. Increasing the structural diversity of our trees will also increase the number of microhabitats in which smaller flora and wildlife can thrive.
We are hoping we will see an increase in a number of small mammals and insects as well as a wider range of birdlife to add to the herons, swans, moorhens and coots already settled around the lake.
This first phase of the woodland development would not have been possible without the support of the Trust’s major donors, as well as Machen Rotary Club which purchased nearly 100 trees from the Woodland Trust for us to plant.
Wales is one of the least wooded countries in Europe and we are dedicated to taking care of our small but vital woodland. Once the new saplings have established themselves we will be looking to develop the woodland area as a whole, ensuring a vibrant, accessible experience for everyone.