13 November 1998

Lifetime spent caring for woodland pockets

ABOUT 200,000 small woodlands of under 10ha (25 acres) are estimated to claim 500,000ha (1.25m acres) and up to one third of Britains total wooded area. Add 90% of new plantings in 1996-96 averaging only 2.1ha (5.2 acres) and their total contribution to the countryside is substantial.

The topic is done the justice it deserves in an excellent book* covering the care and detailed management of small woods by Ken Broad, a professional forester with a lifetimes experience in his subject.

His constructive, detailed and sympathetic approach recognises the contribution of small woodlands to economic timber production, shelter, sporting interests, flora and fauna conservation, private and public recreation and visual amenity, often with overlapping conflicts of interest.

Advice on woodland improvements, sources of financial help, legal aspects and best uses of a major national asset is of value to owners, advisers, contractors, public authorities, students and casual woodland visitors alike.

A history of widespread neglect means that many such areas need all the help they can get before they can be restored, preferably to pay their way economically and make the best possible contribution to wildlife preservation and public enjoyment.

This book will appeal to all those with the interests of well cared for woodlands at heart. It deserves the widest possible readership. HPH

*Caring for Small Woods, by Ken Broad; Earthscan Publications, 120 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9JN (£16.95).