I refer in deference to your recent posting regarding the proposed nature management project in Barlow Wood. I considered that the following elaboration might seek to further inform your opinion and that of your fellow writers and readers.
Barlow Wood is located to the east of Strines Road, at approximately SJ966 873. It is designated as a site of "Biological Importance", reflecting the value of the woodland for biodiversity. The site is under Council Ownership. The Senior Ranger who covers the site is based at Etherow Park.
The nature project that you optimistically refer to and I should say that I wholeheartedly share your optimism, will focus largely on the removal of non-native invasive species such as Himalayan balsam,rhododendron, laurel and also the removal of regenerating non-native species such as sycamore and beech trees. In some areas it should be possible to selectively 'thin' the trees. I am informed by those that know that 'thinning' is necessary to allow more light to reach to reach the woodland floor which in turn should encourage more plant species to grow and also increase their variety. This process also helps to increase the age range of the trees and shrubs that are already present in the woodland.
The project is expected to commence on Wednesday, January 23rd, for a duration of 4/6 weeks. There might be some waiting time for an information board which has not yet been designed but this should be the only omission and if delayed will tag on to the end of the project.
As well as thinning there will also be planting of small trees (known as whips) which will be undertaken in areas where thinning has taken place. Bird boxes will also be put up on site. It is also part of the project to improve the path along the river which can get very muddy. There is also provision as mentioned, for an "interpretation board" insitu which will provide information about the wildlife which is to be found in the woodland.
The non-native invasive species which I feferred to earlier tend to spread quickly and out compete everything else. If left to devices the result is a woodland habitat dominated by these "invaders" rather than a woodland that has a wide mix of species. Even some native species have a similar impact. The strategy is to selectively target the regrowth of the species and to minimise the amount of mature trees which are removed.
It is more beneficial for wildlife to have native species present. In rough example of this the number of insects supported by an oak tree is far greater than the number supported by a sycamore tree.
Hope that this helps and that you feel that this is an exciting little project and one that will be beneficial to the Community.
For further information on the programme I will be inviting the project officer to come to the Area Committe, scheduled for Wednesday, February 15th, to make a presentation and answer any questions.
Finally can I take this opportunity, belated though it is - to wish you, your fellow posters and readers on this forum and indeed the whole Community of Marple & High Lane a Prosperous and Happy New Year.
Best of Intentions
Councillor Kevin Dowling