UKTC Archive

RE: Biodiversity & Sycamore

Subject: RE: Biodiversity & Sycamore
From: Alan Reeves
Date: Jan 17 2001 20:15:44
Thanks Adam,

One particular experience we had @Myerscough - yes I'm
there and Dealga too- was with small-leaved lime and
all I'll say is that SLL did not like being under that
syccy canopy one little bit.
Ash I could live with but in the areas I've been
working in and had experience of with FWAG and
College, Ash is not an obvious candidate.

--- Adam Hollis <> wrote: >

Alan asked: " has anyone tried to regenerate
woodland under a canopy of sycamore?"

The Oxford Forestry Institute has been doing this
for some time at 
Northmoor Park Nature Reserve in Oxon. 
Post-graduate research 
students under Peter Saville study the alternation
of ash and 
sycamore regeneration which is believed to be
cyclical on the site. 
There is an OFI Occasional Paper (possibly 35?)on
the subject.  As 
Dealga points out, findings have also been reviewed
in ICF journals 
from time to time.

Just to add one more anecdote to the pile: Prof.
Steve Woodword of 
Aberdeen Uni, used to say that the prehistoric
record of pollen 
traces from field maple was virtually
indistinguishable from 
sycamore.  Therefore, it was impossible to say that
we had one 
without the other at the end of the last ice age. 
Mind you that was 
10 years ago.

Personally, I always feel a little uneasy when
volunteers relish the prospect of bashing in aliens.
 Hitler, if you 
recall, was a vegetarian and conservationist.  In
eco-tourism companies arrange weekend breaks for
volunteers to go and 
stove in the heads of cane toads with baseball bats
in N. Queensland. 
Locals prefer a more sustainable policy of smoking

There is inevitably a little artificiality in this
ice-age cut-off 
date business.  Whilst flora and fauna have adapted
to our 
broadleaves, the same broadleaves have not
necessarily adapted 
sufficiently to our UK environment to distinguish
them from 
continental cousins.  A further OFI Paper (No.39)
found that to an 
extent the 'nativeness' of species was something of
a red herring and 
that in general, woodland structure was more
important to the wider 
food chain. Interestingly, Norway spruce supports
more species of 
insect than the limes (37 vs. 31), when the latter
made up much of 
our original wildwood.

It's funny how times and attitudes change - the
prolific seeding of 
sycamore does much to encourage its infamy.  Yet in
the past, Lord 
Bolton (famous forestry nob.) thought for the very
same reason it was 
"a gift from God".

To part on a little brain teaser:  if 2/3 of our
'native' planting 
schemes are now sourced from nurseries abroad (2
billion trees since 
1960) in non-maritime climates such as central
Europe, and all the 
while unwanted sycamore has been naturally
regenerating on our our 
home turf for at least a couple of millennia - then
which is indeed 
the fittest?



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