A new study has proved that former fields have converted rapidly to native forests without the aid of artificial irrigation, synthetic tree guards, and expensive care. This has given credence to the argument that natural regeneration is the best method to adopt for creating woodlands in a barren land. And it has been discovered that the tiny Jays aid reforestation the most.
It has been discovered that birds like thrushes help distribute blackthorn, bramble, and hawthorn seeds during such passive re-wilding initiatives. These scrub form a natural dense protection against wild grazing animals where oaks develop. And jays aid reforestation the most as it is they who bury the acorns from which the oak trees grow in the wild.
The study concentrated on a couple of fields close to monk woods. Situated in Cambridgeshire, it is a natural reserve. One of the fields was a barley field left alone back in 1961. The grassland was abandoned in 1996. This grassy region has transformed into a new wood that has been nicknamed ‘the new wilderness.’ It has 132 live trees for each hectare, and oaks account for a massive 57% of all the trees.
Jays Aid Reforestation Significantly By Planting The Oak Trees
The abandoned barley field was labeled ‘the new wilderness’. It also has transformed into a dense, mature wooded area after these 59 years and has 52% of oak trees with a massive 390 trees in each hectare. In both instances, it has been established that the Jays aid reforestation in a massive way as they regularly carry acorns much further as winter stockpiles than the wood mice or the gray squirrels.
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Many people are not much friendly with the birds even though the Jays aid reforestation naturally. Dr. Richard Broughton says that people see them as a nuisance. But the Jays aid reforestation in over 50% of natural forest area followed by perhaps the gray squirrel. It becomes obvious in these two instances that the Jays aid reforestation and the new woods were designed and protected by birds like thrushes, and jays.
The government has ambitious plans for tree plantations to tackle climate changes. They plan to add new woodlands at over 30,000 hectares by 2024. But artificial forested areas lean on planting coniferous plantations. They are not native to England and can cause damage to local wildlife and the peatlands, which are natural storehouses of carbon.
Natural Regeneration Is The Way To Go
Leading scientists and environmentalists are calling for the natural regeneration of forests using native plants and trees and using natural processes to aid reforestation drives.
Isabella Tree, a proponent of the natural form of regeneration of forests says that the significance of scrubland must be taken into account. They are the first to grow in an abandoned land and are a protective zone for small wildlife. The view was echoed by Broughton who said that the new forests emerging near Monks Wood have revealed the value of wild scrubs.
He says that scrub is the wrong word to use as we generally believe that they ought to be ‘scrubbed away.’ They are in fact shrubland. It is a haven for wildlife as they are covered with blossom and are filled with warblers and quite a nice place.
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He says that, unlike artificial forests, natural forests develop in stages. The initial stage of natural regeneration is these dense thickets and shrubs. It is an undergrowth of hawthorn and brambles sown by the thrushes and act as a guard for the oak and other trees against potential grazers such as the deer.
The presence of a large number of deer and other grazers in the vicinity did not hamper the growth of the oak trees next. They grew under the protective canopy of the shrubland. Even the government has come up with financial measures for landowners who use natural methods of regeneration. This benefits the biodiversity of the area, prevents floods, protects the topsoil, and helps in carbon sequestration.