Tree-felling often invokes a negative reaction from the public, but is it justifiable when there is a risk to safety? Patrick Barkham examines the controversy surrounding tree-felling in response to Ash dieback at Norbury Park, Surrey, and talks to the reserve’s managers and local naturalists to learn more about how this work might affect wildlife.
The sound of a mature Ash being felled is not pleasant. There is a violent cracking, a split-second of silence and then a thud that almost shakes the chalk scarp of Norbury Park, Surrey. Two tree-felling machines, one red and one green, dance through the woods at a rapid pace, chopping, stripping and stacking almost every Ash tree in sight.