In general, wherever it is safe to do so, we like to leave plenty of deadwood across the wooded areas of the Common. Of course there are occasions when it is necessary to fell or reduce trees for conservation and safety.
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.