LlyG member blog: An active year for Knighton Tree Allotments Trust

Posted on May 13, 2014 by

In April the LlyG network welcomed a new community woodland group member to the network – the Knighton Tree Allotments Trust (KTAT), a voluntary, not-for-profit group that currently manages two different woodlands. Here they give us an overview of their aims, as well as an update on their year including training, biodiversity surveys, managing for tree diseases, successful funding bids, and woodfuel.

In coming together and sharing and learning woodland skills we aim to sustainably manage woodland for the benefit of wildlife and our members.

A Sustainable Woodland Managment Approach

It is a common misconception that unmanaged woodland is best for wildlife. In fact, by managing the woodland through traditional practices such as coppicing, we increase the variety of habitats and increase the richness of wildlife.

In ensuring that the trees that we fell for fuel or timber are replaced with new plants, we are creating a sustainable supply of woodland products. In sustainably growing firewood and other woodland products we can meet some of our fuel and timber needs as well as reducing our carbon footprints. At the same time we are joining cooperatively with other local people to enjoy, conserve and enrich our local environment.

2013 – Learning and Consolidation

It has been a year of learning and consolidation for the Trust as we get to grips with our two current woodlands and KTAT Newsletter Spring 2014 learn more about the theory and practice of sustainable woodland management. Thanks to successful grant applications to Environment Wales and Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a number of our members have been able to attend a variety of formal training courses.

This has included Forestry First Aid, how to carry out biodiversity surveys, woodland management courses and a number of chainsaw qualifications – including chainsaw maintenance & cross-cutting and felling “Small” and“Medium” trees. Members have also given and received informal ‘on the job’ training during our work days. This has dramatically increased the level of skills within the group and makes us much more self-sufficient for the future by reducing our reliance on external consultants and contractors.

Putting our Learning to Good Use

The skills gained have already been put to good use. KTAT now has a much more detailed Management Plan in place for Greenstreete Larch Plantation. The Japanese Larch are at risk from Phytopthora ramorum disease and the plantation would have to be clear-felled if the trees were to become infected. KTAT is working with the land owners – the Samatha Trust – on a 10 year programme of replacing the non-native larch with a native species coppice woodland to improve biodiversity and disease resistance.

We have almost finished our work on the first coupe which covers one tenth of the plantation. We coppiced the under-story, arranged for a contractor to fell the larch, cleared the brash and re-planted with a broad mix of native species suitable for the site including Sessile Oak, Rowan and Downy Birch. We have also milled some of the felled larch for building materials and will hold several training workdays to build a bio-loo and wood-store. The newly-gained chainsaw skills have also been put to good use at Weir Cottage Woodland where one coupe has been felled, processed into logs and the area re-planted.

This blog is an extract from KTAT most recent group newsletter.

To read the full version, including in depth stories on biodiversity surveying, download a copy here.

You can also visit their website here.

 

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