Wealden District Council

Walshes Park - Standing dead trees

Greenwoodpecker

Trees of ill health or those simply reaching a mature age can provide a crucial ecological resource for bird, bat, insect and mammal life within the Walshes Park area. The temptation can be to remove these such trees from the landscape with public safety in mind, although the better ecological alternative is to create Standing Dead trees or Monolith trees to preserve much needed standing deadwood to provide microhabitats for a huge range of native species. A remarkable 40% of woodland wildlife is dependent on this resource within an ecosystem. One third of all woodland birds nest in holes and cavities formed by deadwood in trees, which also rely on the invertebrates in dead wood as a food source. Large hollowing trees offer ideal nesting locations for species such as the great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) and various owl species.

As woodlands and trees are 'cleaned' and made safe from deadwood, this huge resource is being lost. The risk of these trees failing structurally as they decay can be mitigated through the use of fencing, seen here to prevent public access within these areas of risk. At Walshes Park the tree management plan will, where possible, adopt an approach to retain and isolate standing dead trees to preserve this vital habitat.

Visit the trees for life website (external link) for a lot more information about standing deadwood and its roll within the landscape.