The weather has certainly been dramatic over the past four weeks or so, leaving many people around Britain in despair.
The persistent flooding has led to 24 hour media attention, heated debate involving almost everyone, inevitable finger pointing and blaming but very little in the way of hope for those living in flood prone zones. For what hope is there when we are told to expect further deluge and for those living in high risk areas struggling to get insurance for their property.
One of the suggested solutions however is to plant more trees in upland areas, currently overgrazed it seems; a recent Guardian article, receiving much attention, reminds me a little of the story the 'Emperor wears new clothes', but it seems to make sense -
"One day a government consultant was walking over their fields during a rainstorm. He noticed something that fascinated him. The water flashing off the land suddenly disappeared when it reached the belts of trees the farmers had planted. This prompted a major research programme, which produced the following astonishing results: water sinks into the soil under trees at 67 times the rate at which it sinks into the soil under grass. The roots of the trees provide channels down which the water flows, deep into the ground. The soil there becomes a sponge, a reservoir which sucks up water and then releases it slowly. In the pastures, by contrast, the small sharp hooves of the sheep puddle the ground, making it almost impermeable, a hard pan off which the rain gushes.
READ GEORGE MONBIOT'S ARTICLE http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/13/flooding-public-spending-britain-europe-policies-homes
BACK TO THE REA VALLEY -
|Fallen Beech at Holders Woods|
|Shallow rooted Beech, rotted in the wet soil|
Whilst a fallen tree in a woodland is not always a negative, we should ensure that newly planted trees are appropriate to the geography.
Beech trees are shallow rooted and thrive best in southern Britain, the natural stronghold for the species.
Rarely do we encounter Oaks in this state, as their roots work effectively with the clay soils.