by Rodney Helliwell (Author & Publisher)
Sponsored by Woodland Heritage
Rodney Helliwell's latest small book is a very clear and practical explanation of continuous cover management. In fact, short of going in the woods with Rodney himself, it would be hard to find a better guide. Whilst Rodney is (rightly) a strong exponent of more continuous cover management he does not slip into the 'one route to God' zealotry which (equally rightly) antagonises experienced foresters.
Aimed at the less experienced forester/owner, the book gives much excellent general advice, in particular the need to be clear about what you want from your wood and the need for clear planning: continuous cover is a silvicultural system, not an end in itself. As an arboriculturalist as well as forester, he is also good on aspects important to the owners of smaller woodlands like tree safety along roadsides.
His advice on continuous cover on pages 21-23 is flawless: he gets across both the practicalities and the 'feel' of continuous cover, and backs it up with the simplest of diagrams on pages 64-66 which explains exactly how to select which trees to remove. He doesn't overdo the maths: the precision with which the experts address diameter distribution in the 'ideal' continuous cover stand can be intimidating, but listening to David Pengelly at Stourhead on the 2013 Whole Society Meeting it is worth bearing in mind this is the cutting edge, the research establishing continuous cover systems in the UK. How many of us know how the management tables for even aged stands were developed? And how many even-aged conifer stands are currently thinned to within even 20% of management tables? So don't be afraid, dive in and give it a go, following Rodney's very sensible and practical advice.
What is new to followers of Rodney's publications is the chapter on his latest interest: light. Did you realise that the total amount of light striking an English forest in midsummer can be greater than in Kampala at the equator ? Or that only 5% of light reaches the ground under closed canopy Oak? This leads to one very practical conclusion that just hadn't occurred to me: Rodney warns against using opaque tree shelters in woodland as some reduce the light by more than 80%, giving the tree inside little chance in locations which are already shaded. For experienced foresters, it is worth buying the book for this chapter alone.
Review written by Roderick Leslie FICFor
Copies available from:
Treesource, Lyndum, Church Hill,
Stillingfleet, York YO19 6SA
Price: £9.50 (paperback) 65 pages
Editor's Note: Our thanks to Roderick Leslie and the RFS QJF for permission to reproduce this review.