I was delighted to get hold of a copy of Charles Flower’s Irreplaceable Woodlands. The book is a glorious reference to his 30 year custodianship of a 25 acre ancient woodland – Mapleash Copse. The title is a reminder that woodlands such as these are under threat. Politicians and developers with big infrastructure project on their agendas seem to consider them as transferable commodities, the loss of which they think can be compensated for with the planting of an equivalent acreage of ‘trees’ elsewhere. They fail to grasp the depth of complexity and length of time the ecology has taken to reach this diversity and this book is testimony to just how valuable to wildlife a well managed ancient woodland is. Read more …