Birch Scrub Clearance

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Anyone who knows me knows how I struggle with the felling of trees so when this shoot came in from the Wildlife Trust I needed to do my research in order to see exactly why the work in hand was being approached the way it was. I had many questions to ask and the reserve manager happily put me in the picture.

Ok, I could see why the scrub needed to be cleared. There’s precious little raised bog in Lancashire and this jewel of a wetland is home to an appreciable diversity of invertebrates and simple plants. Birch is a pioneer species and as such can quickly establish and encroach upon sensitive habitats. Left to it’s own devices Heysham Moss wouldn’t be a bog for long.

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So yes, they need to be controlled and this guy is doing the necessary with his chainsaw, along with a couple of colleagues. However my potential issue was with the brute of a machine that followed.

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Custom built by the owner of the company, this beast chipped whole trees in a few seconds, shooting the resulting waste deep into the woodland. Why couldn’t the timber be taken off site and put to use once it’s been felled was my question. Of course all options had been explored by the Wildlife Trust and there was simply no way the soft ground would bear the weight of a tractor and trailer.

Leaving the wood on site wasn’t an option either. There was too much of it and the stacks of timber would be a target for fires started by the youths who frequent the area late in the evenings.

This chap had cornered the market with his machines, fitting them with wide caterpillar tracks to minimise damage and ensuring the weight was kept as low as possible to conserve the bogland on which the woodland sits.

He has an even larger machine, which wouldn’t fit on this site, that uproots and chips the trees without the need for a chainsaw!

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