Why do we cut down trees on heathlands?
Heathlands are open landscapes on acidic soil with a variety of low-growing plants. In Hertfordshire they’re dominated by grasses, but also support characteristic plants like heather. They’re one of the most special places for wildlife in the county. Like grasslands they’re man-made, so they need management just to stay as they are.
Without that management, trees will quickly take over. And in some places trees have been planted on old heaths. Although woodlands can be valuable to wildlife too, they are much more common.
Heathlands survive only in scattered patches, and are well worth restoring where possible, even when trees have to be cut down to do so. This helps a wide variety of interesting plants and animals which are found nowhere else in Hertfordshire.
Croxley Common Moor near Rickmansworth is one of the most valuable wildlife sites in Hertfordshire. Special plants like petty whin and Dyer’s greenweed are an important part of the heathland environment. These in turn support a community of rare insects.