Given the poor record of the Daily Express in reporting the results of the recent BTO study of predators and their prey we should perhaps take the story in today's paper with a pinch of salt.  Apparently the Express thinks that the Government and the RSPB are about to make an announcement on forestry - that really is news to me!

But a Government announcement on the subject of open ground habitat and forestry is expected very soon. We have argued that as timber crops are felled then there is scope for not replanting some of these areas where the trees were harming important open habitats - for example, lowland heathland areas.

It seems that the Confederation of Forest Industries is losing its cool again (they have before - see here).  ConFor's outspoken chief executive says (or at least the Express says he said) 'We have lost at least 5 million UK trees in 10 years to deforestation.' but the official Forestry Commission statistics show that forest area has increased over the last 10 years!  Hmmm!

Many areas where we believe heathland recreation should be a priority as a future land use are areas where future pine crops will be compromised by red band needle blight.  

The area of lowland heathland is estimated as about 58,000ha compared with forest coverage of 2.8mha in a total UK area of 24mha.  So if we can't squeeze out a bit of land for habitat recreation, and land of poor productivity currently under poorly growing trees would be a very sensible place to start, then we aren't doing a very good job for threatened wildlife.

There is plenty of scope for more trees and more open ground habitat. Let's hope that Government does make the right decision and does something significant for nature in this International Year of Biodiversity.


  • Everybody seem to want different things,some want broadleaved trees,seems Red Squirrels want pine and some want heathland.See in today's paper some wind farms just producing less than 10% of their maximum output the suggestion being that they are being put up simply for the large subsidy.