|Vol 24 No. 4 - April 2013|
The threat and potential impact of Ash dieback - an introduction to the articles in this issue exploring various aspects of this disease and the implications for our wildlife and landscape.
The Ash: where nature meets history
Peter Marren considers the social and cultural history of the Ash, the myths and legends surrounding its healing powers, Ash coppicing and pollarding and traditional and modern uses for its wood.
Ash: an ecological portrait
Leading woodland ecologist George Peterken describes the different types of woodland where Ash is found, the national distribution of Ash woods and its ecological status and relationship with other trees and ground flora.
Ash and its host species: A look at three groups that may be affected by Ash dieback:
Lichens, by Bryan Edwards
Bryophytes, by Sam Bosanquet
Invertebrates, by Alan Stubbs
Each of these short articles describes the importance of Ash trees for a specific group – lichens, bryophytes and invertebrates (including mites, plant bugs, micro- and macro-moths, flies, beetles, sawflies, saproxylic fauna, predatory insects, parasites and spiders), and assesses the implications of the loss of Ash trees for each group.
Habitat Management News: Glow-worm habitat management
compiled by Conservation Management Advice, RSPB
This short article discusses the effects of a range of management techniques on the habitat of this declining insect, including sheep grazing, scrub clearance and coppicing, with reference to the results of such techniques on the Glow-worm populations of Essex.
Identification: Web-building moth larvae in the British Isles
Phil Sterling and Mark Parsons
Many butterfly and moth larvae avoid predation by living among the vegetation in which they feed, but gregarious species need a further defence and hide among silken webbing. These webs can form a distinctive nest, or can be extensive enough to cover whole bushes, hedges and trees. Some species’ larvae further protect themselves by producing millions of microscopic hairs that can cause skin irritation. This identification feature describes the most conspicuous web-builders in the micro-moth family Yponomeutidae, and three macro-moth families, Lasiocampidae, Lymantriidae and Thaumetopoeidae. The larvae, webs and adult moths are all illustrated.
Snow, Snowdrops, lawns and observers – Topics from Nature’s Calendar/UK Phenology Network
Tim Sparks, Sian Atkinson and Kate Lewthwaite
As part of our regular UK Phenology Network updates, this article analyses meteorological records and phenological data for the first flowering of Snowdrops and first lawn-cutting dates.