Nominations are Open
Name your Tree of the Year
FLORA AND FAUNA AND THE FOREST WORLDCLIMATE CHANGE
What is it about a tree than can capture our emotions? Judging by the furious reaction to the illegal felling of the famous sycamore tree in my native Northumberland, many people can be captivated by one single tree. Looking at a picture of it as it stood in an isolated spot next to Hadrian's wall , I can well understand why. Individuals and organisations have reacted with sorrow and rage at the irrevocable loss. Planted by a landowner in the late 19C, it was photographed and visited may times and has even been the scene of marriage proposals and the scattering of ashes.
Every year, until recently, the Guardian newspaper would invite readers to nominate their favourite tree, and that would often make me reflect on which one I would nominate. When I lived in Marlborough Wiltshire, I decided it would be an old dead oak that stood alongside the road that passes by Savernake Forest. Why would you nominate a dead tree stump, you may well ask? "Well," I would answer "it has never failed to remind me of the baobab tree that one sees in Zimbabwe, with its archetypal shaped squat trunk". Every time we passed by the tree in Savernake forest it would remind me of Africa. More than twenty years later it still stands there proudly.
Here , we are breaking open the baobab fruit in Africa to reveal the cream of tartar inside.
The British Woodlands Trust also holds a similar competition. Recent winners have been an ancient yew and a sweet chestnut. But the trees that have most fired people's imaginations have often been in towns , where they represent a vital connection with nature. I well remember the anger that Sheffield Council aroused when they planned to fell 17,500 established trees and replace them with saplings. Many residents protested, and some people were even jailed. The Sheffield city council have since said that they regret their actions.
Sheffield Chain Saw Massacre
When you live in a forest, as we do, it is very difficult to choose one's favourite tree. Whilst we are surrounded by thousands and thousands of boring black Austrian pines, there are many other beautiful species growing amongst them. Some like the Montpellier maples have self seeded, whilst other trees like the stately cypresses, have obviously been planted. What's more, in small selected areas where pine trees have been commercially felled by the National forest authority(ONF), new experimental tree planting schemes are underway, to include more broad leaved varieties. By diversifying, it is hoped that our forests will become more resistant to climate change.