A real pig’s dinner
IWOULD like to offer a word of warning on the use of pigs to clear undergrowth (‘Send in the sows’, January 18). Traditionally, woods
used to feed stock for short periods: trees were coppiced in late summer for cattle and pigs were herded through in autumn to feed on mast. The grazing would only go on for a few days, doing little damage to the ground flora and fauna.
If pigs are kept on the ground for longer periods, the effects can be severe, leaving bare soil that’s at risk of erosion in winter rain. Foxgloves are common colonisers in such conditions, as are nettles, but it is brambles that are a key species for small mammals, birds and butterflies.
Woodlands have a complicated ecology and can easily suffer permanent harm. Antony Jarvis, Lincolnshire