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25 April, 2006


Cycling and walking in the Lake District at the weekend, I was impressed by the amount of dead wood in the Coniston area.  Though the National Park Authority, the National Trust and individual landowners do prune branches overhanging roads or otherwise causing hazards, the material is left to decompose in the immediate vicinity.  Likewise, dead trees aren't routinely felled.  This is immensely valuable to the semi-natural ecosystem (pity about the overgrazing), enriching the ground level of wooded areas and promoting true undergrowth.

Returning from work a few minutes ago, I passed two people leaving Williamson Park carrying sawn-off branches. It suddenly occurred to me that there's a major reason why rotting wood isn't left to enrich wooded areas in the city: as rapidly as City Council workers generate dead material through essential maintenance work, Lancaster's middle-class nouveau-hippies steal it for their wood burners. They probably even congratulate themselves on being Green.

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