I am any forest or woods, and I am under threat.

Not just the big threats. All the little threats, thousands and thousands of them.

I welcome visitors. I enjoy their enjoyment of everything I have to offer.

But I am still under threat. Day by day I lose some of my inhabitants as they get disturbed by humans. Sometimes I lose lots of hectares for the greed of humans. I get fragmented by any activity like this, and of course the damage footprint is much, much larger then the actual development area.

It’s any concentration of people that cause the damage, and especially when they don’t go home at night.

I can’t recover if they don’t go home at night.

They don’t really know they’re doing it, but if some of my wildlife has to scatter because the quiet bit of forest they’ve found is discovered by walkers, riders, mountain bikers, joggers, runners, dogs, cars, motorbikes and lots more.Everyone has access to everything for all the hours in a day, for all the days in the year, and the number of visitors continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I sometimes have quite rare flora and fauna come to the forest to set up home but it’s very difficult for them.

I’m not trying to blame anyone. Every one has their priorities, from those who own, those who manage, those who protect, those who use, and of course those who damage.

I do get a bit upset though when some people say they are protecting me but they aren’t. And of course, I can’t protect myself from threats. I’m just a forest after all.

So, I need anyone that’s interested to become my friend. No axe to grind.

If people could just work together to get the balance right, I could give so much more. They might have to give up some access for the short term, but I would multiply that for the long term, for your children’s children.Humans seem to act weirdly when they become part of organisations. They start to write things and believe things that really aren’t true. Do they really believe their statistics and graphs and asset banks are telling the truth?

I gave up my wood to support your conflicts and your industry and you’ve planted lots of the wrong kind of trees, and you’ve learned a lot so that you now try to plant broad leafed deciduous trees now instead of conifers, and if you can restore me towards what I used to be, Ancient Woodland, I would repay that many fold. That will take hundreds of years, but that’s how far ahead you have to look.

Remember if you clear fell on top of a hill, more water will flow down the streams because the water will flow with less impediment and my trees aren’t taking up the water. Just don’t blame me when it goes wrong for you.

By the way, if you clear felled some small areas and created more rides and verges with mowing done at exactly the right times, not to suit you, I would really show you what biodiversity is all about. The clear felled areas create many pockets of micro climate, sheltered and private, and the verges will be a haven for plants liked by butterflies, moths and insects. Think about joining up fragments of forest to create corridors and larger areas.

It’s not rocket science, though sometimes I think it might as well be. After all, I take in carbon, give you oxygen, store water, support biodiversity and give shade, to name but a few things. They say everyone should plant trees in their lifetime for the next generations to enjoy, and it’s more true now than it ever was, given the precarious situation. In my undisturbed areas I hold the memories of centuries.

It’s your choice. How on earth are you going to do it?

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