Over the last several decades, the volume of dead wood in woodlands has declined substantially. This is due, in part to the ‘tidying up’ of woodland for a variety of reasons to reduce the spread of fungal diseases and within urban green spaces for ‘aesthetic’ reasons. In turn, this has had a detrimental effect on organisms dependent upon this saprophytic habitat. A prime example has been the decline of the stag beetle across UK and Europe.
Dead wood is extremely important to the health of woodland and a vital part of a healthy nutrient cycle and ecosystem. It provides a steady, slow-release of nitrogen, and provides crucial micro-habitats. It is estimated that an astonishing 40% of woodland wildlife is dependent on this aspect of a woodlands ecosystem including organisms such as fungi, lichens, invertebrates, mosses and birds, many of them having very specific requirements, and some specialising exclusively on one particular micro-habitat.
Taking wood from any of our sites not only disturbs valuable habitat but is also an offence under one of the Richmond’s Public Space Protections Orders.