ATF  Newsletter - Christmas 2020
Birnham Oak (photo credit:  Chris Knapman)

Wishing all our supporters a peaceful, safe and happy Christmas 

Vacancy - the ATF is seeking a new Chair of Trustees

The Ancient Tree Forum (ATF) is the leading authority on the conservation of ancient and other veteran trees and is the only organisation in England and Wales focusing solely on their protection and sustainability.

This is a pivotal time for the ATF. Our first CEO, Laura Alcock-Ferguson, has been in post for just over a year; in this time, she has overseen significant change in the running of the Forum, initiated a strategic review and managed the unprecedented pressures resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is clear that the ATF will continue to harness the power of volunteers, who are often pre-eminent in their fields of expertise, to work with our close stakeholders and thereby to remain at the heart of our work.
We are now seeking a new Chair to embrace these challenges and the exciting opportunity to strengthen the future of an expert-powered and influential environmental charity. We are particularly interested in hearing from people with leadership skills and experience from a similar role for at least three years combined with knowledge of ancient and other veteran trees.
This is an unremunerated position, although reasonable travel expenses will be paid. The time commitment is approximately 3-4 days per month, although in the first six months as you are supported into this role, the time commitment may be more.

To apply, please address the points in the role description (found in the candidate pack) and send:
  • a comprehensive, up-to-date CV including references
  • a supporting statement explaining how you believe your skills and experience match the priority skills and experience that we are looking for, as outlined in the personal specification - no longer than two sides of A4
  • details of any business or other interests which might give rise to conflict of interest, and how you could address this should your application be successful
  • equal opportunities monitoring form
Please send your application to:
The closing date for applications is 25 January 2021. Interviews will be held by Zoom on 17 February 2021.
We particularly welcome and value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination. We encourage and welcome applications from suitably skilled candidates from all backgrounds.

Candidate pack including role description
Equal opportunities monitoring form

Laura Alcock-Ferguson

Dulsmead coppards at Epping (photo credit: Jeremy Dagley)

UK Parliament EFRA Committee Inquiry: Tree Planting and Woodlands 2020

The Ancient Tree Forum has recently made a submission to this enquiry which you can read below. 
The ATF's submission
Oak at the Gate of the Dead, Chirk (photo credit:  Brian Muelaner)

ATF training

 The ATF has postponed all training until 2021 and new dates have been set for the 2 day Understanding and Managing Veteran Trees course.

Most attendees have chosen to roll over their bookings to next year, but there are a few spaces left at Chirk Castle (20/21 September 2021).

Book here for Chirk Castle
Tree Recording at Cabilla Manor 2020 (photo credit: Tim Kellett)

ATF Cornwall's visit to Cabilla Manor

A small recording group from ATF Cornwall visited Cabilla Manor on the edge of Bodmin Moor to help the owner get a better understanding of this dramatic landscape to help with their proposed rewilding project. Not only recording veteran and ancient trees, members recorded fungi, invertebrates, birds and historic landscape features. Tim Kellett put together a short report to give to the owner Merlin Hanbury-Tenison, which can be viewed here.
Report on visits to Cabilla Manor
A woodpecker hole created in 2012, which in 2020 had a bat roosting in it. Here you can also see bird nesting material in the bottom. (photo credit: Vikki Bengtsson}
A hole created using a chainsaw to mimic a woodpecker hole (photo credit: Vikki Bengtsson}

ATF Podcasts

In this month’s podcast, Clare talks with Vikki Bengtsson about an introduction to the process of veteranisation for those of you who are new to this technique. What is it good for?
This year ATF podcasts have focused  on “overviews and introductions”. These have been for those who are newer to the subject of managing ancient and veteran trees. ATF aims to both push the knowledge on ancient and veteran trees with and for experts, as well as share previous learning with a wide range of land managers and professionals, and we have been successful in the last few years of reaching these new audiences.
We may only have scratched the surface here (is that a pun..?) so look out for veteranisation part two next year. Enjoy

Pollard oaks from the SARE Forest, Atlantic Pyrenees (photo credit:  Cyrille Van Meer)

Message from France

Cyrille Van-Meer, Forester at Office National des Forêts, France, has been in touch to share an abstract of a paper he wrote this year. Unfortunately for me, it’s in French (soustrage anyone?)! 
We have managed to get a translation of the summary for you to read. Thanks go to Cyrille for thinking of us and sending us his paper: "I am very honoured that the Ancient Tree Forum and the old tree friends are interested in this article. I don't have an English translation. The forest suffered a lot in 2019 from fires and in 2020 from several storms. Thank you very much for your friendly messages, it made me very happy".

The Sare forest (SW France, Pyrénées atlantiques, Basque country, Natura 2000), the storytelling of some 42,000 pollard trees, very old-growth standing oaks (Quercus robur), pasture woodland and biodiversity. From the 16th century, this forest was managed to produce wood and to satisfy other uses: harvesting litter and acorns, intensive grazing of sheep and horses. This forest is today in decline in spite of its very rich entomological fauna of saproxylic beetles linked to old-growth forests, being a true hotspot at the European scale. History, state of play and future are exposed. Sare - Atlantic Pyrenees – France.

This booklet recounts the history of a region upon which two opposite functions have battled: forestry and agriculture. Subjected to intense forestry in search of wood charcoal, the necessary power supply for the steel industry, and to the growing agricultural and grazing needs, the forest had to adapt. In the 17th century, a true agroforestry was set up thanks to pollarding and the plantating trees grown to 6 to 7 feet and allowed this forest with grazing areas to evolve towards a wooded pasture. Wood, soustrage, pastures, glandage, all those activities necessary to the rural populations, were then available on the same land. 150 years ago, there were 42,000 pollard oak trees in the Sare communal forest. Through the 1940s, the trees were not pruned anymore. From then on, there was no more pollarding of the trees and they were once more free to grow. Not to regenerate however, grazing, soustrage and arson attacks went on under their shadow.

You can download the full pdf here

If anyone can offer more, that would be fabulous!

The Journeys of Trees: A Story about Forests, People, and the Future by Zach St. George 

A deft blend of science reporting and travel writing, The Journeys of Trees explores the evolving movements of forests by focusing on five trees: giant sequoia, ash, black spruce, Florida torreya and Monterey pine. Zach St George visits these trees in forests across continents, finding sequoias losing their needles in California, fossil records showing the paths of ancient forests in Alaska, domesticated pines in New Zealand and new sprouts of blight-resistant American chestnuts in New Hampshire. Everywhere he goes, St George meets lively people on conservation's front lines, from an ecologist studying droughts to an evolutionary evangelist with plans to save a dying species. He treks through the woods with activists, biologists and foresters, each with their own role to play in the fight for the uncertain future of our environment.  

To order The Journeys of Trees at a special discount of 25% + free shipping please click here and add the code WN729 when prompted at the checkout.  The promotion code is WN729 and ATF subscribers are able to access a 25% discount with free postage when books are ordered through the link below. 
Review by Clare de Villanueva, ATF's Project Officer

New Regional ATFs added to our Subscription Database

With new regional ATFs being added all the time, it’s worth checking and updating your email preferences to make sure that you are kept up to date with events and news happening in your area. Click on the link below and update your preferences now!!
Update your Subscription Here

ATF Events and Shop

Ancient Tree Forum Clothing

Ancient Tree Forum Clothing – new garments and colours available from our Teemill store. All items are made of 100% organic cotton, sustainably sourced and ethically produced. Each item can be fully traced through their website, providing peace of mind.

We have started with a small range of items and plan to add more in the future, make sure you check back for updates...
Buy online here

Ancient and other veteran trees: further guidance on management

This 212 page handbook from the Ancient Tree Forum brings together the collective wisdom on the management of ancient and veteran trees for the benefit of owners, advisers and practitioners. It is a new, updated standard for the care and management of ancient and other veteran trees, which will serve those who own and manage old trees for decades to come. The book recognises that, alongside the appreciation of old trees, there are responsibilities for their continuity, protection and care.
Buy It Here
If you have any news, reports and anything of interest that you would like to share with subscribers of the Ancient Tree Forum's newsletter, please do get in touch as we would be very happy to put it on our next newsletter. Please use the 'Contact Us' button below.
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