Woodland has well and truly taken root
Green space is doing well since March planting
The first community woodland to be established by Tayside Woodland Partnerships is doing well according to local volunteers involved in the project.
The woodland, which is located on land on a farm near Spittalfield, is part of wider aspiration to establish woodlands across Tayside.
Tayside Woodland Partnerships was formed in late March 2021 following a well-attended online public meeting and was registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated (SCIO) later that year.
The group was offered some land on a farm near Spittalfield and, following discussions with the farmer, the area was fenced off and preparations made for planting.
Planting was originally scheduled for November last year during the COP26 meeting in Glasgow but delivery of most of the young trees was delayed due to Covid restrictions.
The trees were eventually planted in March this year.
A spokesperson for the group told the Blairie: “One of our volunteers has visited the site a few times in recent weeks.
“Following his first visit he reported that the trees were doing well, although there were about 10 that appeared either dead or were late to open their buds.
“Some of the trees were doing extremely well, whilst others of the same species a few metres away were only just coming into leaf.
“The willow and alder in the boggy edge of the site are doing very well but some oaks in particular displayed a fair bit of powdery mildew, although it’s nothing to worry about just yet.
“The ground is fairly firm and dry there at the moment, and the damp start to the year does not appear to have held the trees back.
“He also reported that the grass in the area is growing and is being monitored and cleared where required to ensure it doesn’t swamp the young trees.
“And he said that wildflower enthusiasts will be pleased to know that there is a healthy population of what he thinks are Common Spotted Orchids and Northern Marsh Orchids.”
More than 40 people attended the inaugural meeting of the group which grew from ideas developed by the Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Climate Cafe – including setting up new community woodlands, working in partnership with land owners on areas for tree planting and looking at the possibility of creating ‘wildlife corridors’ by joining up existing and new woodland areas.
The new group is headed up by experienced forester Alastair Fraser and includes a number of people with a depth of experience and knowledge of forestry and ecology.
Alastair said: “It is now generally recognised that we face both a climate emergency and a nature emergency and that trees play an important part in stepping up to meet the need to safeguard the future for our children, grandchildren and beyond.
“Experts such as David Attenborough and Jonathan Porritt tell us that we only have what is left of this decade to make the changes that are needed.
“Planting trees is only one small step of the many required but is seen by many as the most effective way of drawing carbon back down from our atmosphere. We also need to protect the mature trees we have.
“There are a number of benefits of community woodlands, including the opportunity they provide for balancing the everyday things that we do that contribute to the climate emergency.
“They also create places where nature can thrive again and help to reduce the effects of flooding by drying out the soil, enabling the soil to absorb more moisture when it rains, and intercepting some rainfall, reducing the severity of flash floods.
“And some would say that trees, especially native trees, are things of beauty in themselves and many of us have rediscovered the healing qualities of being out in nature over the past two years.”
To find out more about the group, or to get involved, email Alastair on alastairfraser@ btinternet.com