It was disappointing to see a handful of organisations restarting their unjustified war on brownfield development (‘Building over Britain’, November 2015). Brownfield sites aren’t rainforests. They are ecologically impoverished, frequently contaminated breeding grounds for invasive species, and their dereliction drags down local economies and communities and harms people’s health.
Nor are greenfield sites all intensively farmed arable land, though even that supports billions of soil invertebrates. House-builders love to build on lowland heath – that’s why there’s so little left – and are nibbling away at ancient woodland and other high-quality habitats. We believe your article was one-sided, painting a picture of the ecological benefits of brownfield land without considering the serious issues that such land poses to communities. Abandoned Looking through the windows of the lounge, I have a clear view of the remains of a cherry tree. Once the pride of the garden, it is now sadly just a paredback skeletal stump with a few twisted antlersl of decaying wood.
The tree may be dead but it is not lifeless. An inspection of the gnarled surface shows a rich coating of lichen that forms numerous nooks and niches sheltering spiders and tiny insects. Puffballs and bracket fungi also grow there.
While there is no cover nor fruit, the stump still plays host to several avian guests. The bole has many deep cracks in which I scatter bird seed. With plenty of thick cover nearby,b tittits andd fifinchesh visit throughout the day.
Woodmice can sometimes be seen scurrying round the base of the tree, hoovering up spilt seeds dropped by the birds; in the past this activity has attracted a red fox.
For more than 70 years that tree has stood in a modest garden in Sprowston. A vast array of creatures have called it home – and still do.
A coal tit visits Barry’s dead cherry tree.