Oliver Rackham was recently bemoaning the UK’s approach to woodland expansion being so dominated by tree planting, rather than natural regeneration. Not only are the resulting plantations artificial, but the whole process has encouraged the seedling trade across borders that is being blamed for ash dieback disease’s introduction to Britain.

One of the main reasons new woods are planted rather than regrown naturally is because we have such unnaturally high levels of herbivores. Young trees can only get away if they’re grown behind fences to protect them from teeth and the high costs of fencing and our current system of forestry grants has led to an urgency to get trees established in order to be able to claim grants quickly and recoup the outlay on fences.

So, is it time to think about returning some of our native carnivores, to keep the bunnies and deer under control, and reassert a bit of natural balance in our shattered and fragile ecosystems?

http://cybercrofter.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/is-it-time-to-bring-back-bears.html

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