Standing and Fallen Deadwood on Barnes Common

Generally speaking, here on the Common, we look to leave plenty of dead wood, both lying and standing (where safe to do so) across the wooded areas of the Common. In certain circumstances, you may see us cutting logs on the Common.  This will be from trees that have;

  • Fallen in undesirable areas
  • Been felled due to safety concerns
  • Been felled to reduce the spread of Dutch elm disease

These logs are then sold, and all monies raised go back into supporting the management of the Common.

Therefore, please may we remind everyone that wood must not be taken off the Common. In doing so you would be breaking one of the Public Space Protection Orders, and disturbing an important habitat.

There are several important reasons for this:

Unfortunately, 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. Whether it be amongst the forestry industry trying to reduce the spread of fungal diseases, or within urban green spaces for ‘aesthetic’ reasons.

In turn, this has had a detrimental effect on organism’s dependent upon this environment. 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 microhabitats. 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 microhabitat.

Further detailed information about the impact on Deadwood can be found in this Forestry Commission Report on Managing Deadwood.

If you would like to know more or to get involved in the management of the woodland on Barnes Common, or to find out more about the logs that are sold as part of our locally sustainable initiative, please contact the Manager.