Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Now you see it...

Here you can see a line of trees and shrubs....
Now you don't!

But, now you can't.... magic.... no!!
Eric, who now runs the Fauvellier farm, has been putting in a set of irrigation pipes....
as if we currently need it...Ha-ha!!
The source is a bore pipe in a field near their étang...
this will give them ground water, with the étang as a reserve.

All very interesting, yes....
but you are now thinking...
"What has that to do with the above pictures?"

Well Eric.... sensibly on his part... took advantage of having a big digger on site...
he removed a tree and shrub line that divided one of the big fields...
from a smaller one and filled in the ditch!
It costs to get a digger in...
so use it whilst it is on site for another job.

It has been removed up to the neighbours garden.

But as you can see from the picture above....
the ditch, trees and shrubs formed a corridor toward the étang...
and then linked to the other side of the valley...
however...
it was the LAST such corridor from the nearby land South of us.

There are now no easy links between the wooded areas to the South...
with those on the Northern side of the valley...

It looks as though there is a link down by the Moulin de Chevernay...
but if you drive up into Chevernay, you rapidly discover...
that there are vast open fields on the flatlands beyond....
where, ten years ago, there was quite a lot of remnant hedge still standing.

The nearest easy links between the Aigronne and Claise valleys...
are now down by Gatault...
one and a half kilometres towards Grand Pressigny...
and up just before Chateauneuf...
another good kilometre from us towards Petit Pressigny...
where a big wood and then a set of small copses act as the link

A great shame... another chunk of habitat destroyed in the name of...
PROGRESS!!
The only real beneficiaries will be the raptors....
especially the Barn Owls and Harriers...
Hen and Montague's....
whose hunting habits require big flat open areas!

But small birds now have a big open tract to cross...
leaving them vulnerable to other raptors...
the Falcons and Hawks...
let alone the loss of nesting and feeding that the shrubby line gave.

And the small mammals will fare little better...
more open land to cross...
perfect for the Harriers and Owls!

Even some predators suffer...
flattened on the road just there the other day was a beautiful Pine Marten....
I thought it was a Fouine [Beech or Stone Marten]...
until Pauline questioned the colour.
We had a closer look on the way back....
and took photographs to record the loss!
Sure enough...
the colour on the neck was a rich cream and....
on close inspection...
the undamaged fur was too reddy-black.

Pine Martens have a huge territory...
upward of 80 square miles according to Collins "Mammals"*...
and martens, both types, move fast...
think weasel... and scale that up about five-fold.
The poor creature probably hesitated for that second too long....
trying to get its bearings!!

And all in the name of PROGRESS...
so that bigger machines have easier access!
Wildlife corridors are vital highways for the interaction of breeding groups...
the smaller the creature, the more vital it is to have easy links.
And I haven't yet mentioned the insects...
but poor fliers and habitual crawlers need habitat to almost touch....
or else their population becomes isolated and genetically, inbreeding can lead to....
disease resistance being lowered...
poor reproduction rates...
and eventual extinction of that population.

And, in the name of PROGRESS, the world becomes a poorer place.
I am not against progress...
I just want people to take into account what their actions might mean...
and try and create alternatives...
like a line of trees and shrubs...
or a hedge...
down either one of the sides of the road to Favier...
seventy-five metres further along.
But that will never happen...
there are no financial incentives...
no "rewards"...
no altruism, either!!


* "Field Guide - Mammals (Britain and Europe)" David Macdonald and Priscilla Barrett [HarperCollins 1993]

6 comments:

Jean said...

I can feel how annoyed you are Tim, on behalf of wildlife, and quite right too.
I doubt that the person responsible for such vandalism would see your point.
The bottom line is the priority, and ease of getting the farming done. I would be highly surprised if he ever considered the needs and habits of the creatures that used the hedge.

Tim said...

In the UK you can count the number of farmers that actively care about their wildlife on a chess board...
about 30... and of those, a few are known names because of that.

Almost invariably they are smaller landowners....

It isn't the farmer, per se, that is the problem...
it is attitude and education...
agriculturalists are constantly being told to provide more....
for less...
by supermarket chains that require cheaper goods on the shelves for unrealistic us...
and a higher profit margin for their shareholders...
it is unsustainable.

Amelia Frenchgarden said...

We have been noticing in our area that the farmed land has been encroaching year by year on little woods. These little "islands" would have been important to the wildlife but are vanishing or being diminished to an insignificant size. It is a great pity. Amelia

Tim said...

It is a pity, isn't it...
and really all we can do is create our own islands...
that an give refuge to some wildlife.

BUT...
no matter what we do, if the links between the islands are destroyed....
the genetic pools are isolated and inbreeding then....
weakens the population.

Become an LPO Refuge and publicise what is happening with friends, neighbours and the Marie.

RestlessinFrance said...

That is such a shame! Could you speak to the farmer and persuade him to replant the area that he has removed...surely there must be a grant towards this? It would take a few years to grow but it would be more than a gesture in the right direction.
In this region of Vienne there are two areas quite a distance of kms apart and I watch the woodland be decimated ... probably for the oak that I am burning on my woodburner...but I save energy in that i don't have any other form of heating! Progress is a two-edged sword. All forms of History have progressed but sometimes one could easily think over many issues including geographical and nature conservation that we are not in a 21st century!
Do let us know what the farmer has to say....

Tim said...

RIF...
I will ask Richard if it would be possible to put a hedge down the side...
and, I will try to explain why [in French]...
and I will let every one know.
He and I share the same birth date [but one year apart]...
and we are on good terms.

The woods you see being "decimated" are coppice woodlands...
managed for fuel and game...
and it is vital that they are kept like that.
Many, many species require the woods to be managed like this.
The clear areas benefit flora and fauna...
for a few years the flora that thrives in the clearings can flower...
often magnificently...
and reproduce by seed...
and then return to a dormant, vegetative state.
This benefits the insects and the birds that feed on them...
After a few years, the coppice will be dense enough for small birds to nest safely... for plants that require dappled shade to flourish and for small mammals to take cover in from "la chasse".
The way the woodlands are managed in France are why we have such a varied wildlife...
be happy, burn oak...
and ash... and hornbeam... chestnut...birch........
and help the wildlife thrive.