Tree felling is not just a random act


- Credit: Archant

I am writing in response to views expressed recently in this paper regarding tree felling along West Hill Road.

This topic is threatening to get a little out of perspective. Managing land is a science and an art based on years of experience and is centered on economic, social and environmental priorities. Therefore, it follows that a balance has to be struck between these three priorities to achieve a desired outcome.

Of course, it may well have been the top priority and indeed the most appropriate action to clear fell these trees in winter time.

But other priorities alter the management decision. In coming to the decision the estate did, they would have indeed looked at the downside of felling at this time of year. The fact remains that Douglas fir plantations are notoriously void of wildlife even at this time of year. It would therefore have been an easy job to assess the woodland prior to operations beginning for nesting sites. No song birds would have been present in this section - these would of course be present in the deciduous compartments, as they are in my own woodland which is alive with the song and hum of bird activity.

Of course, from a landscape point of view, it is always a shocking sight when trees you get used to on your travels around the locality suddenly disappear leaving ugly scars until we get used to a different vista. By way of reassurance though, if one looks closely at the next compartment in the same woodland towards Ottery, you can see that despite being clear felled only a few years ago, it is once more a closed Douglas fir woodland. This particular estate is a very responsible estate and very well managed.

When you compare their operations with the destruction that Cranbrook is delivering, together with the East Devon Growth area, the planned housing on open land at Island Farm instead of utilising the factory site, the over-development of solar farms on open land, the impact on wildlife is negligible in comparison – but what are our authorities doing about that? I therefore find that criticism of the Salston Estate is unfair in this regard. In short, they are not cavalier but good countryside managers.

For those who don’t have significant knowledge of land management of this scale I urge them to trust those that do. I would hate them to be labelled as poor managers when the opposite is true and so much destruction is going on elsewhere.

Most Read

John Sheaves

West Hill