Even for a site that has planted more than 50,000 new trees, the felling of two very old ones is not taken lightly at Tarmac’s Scorton Quarry in North Yorkshire.
The necessity to remove the 350-year-old oaks was recognised in the site’s planning permission. But what the Scorton team did not accept was that the veteran trees could no longer have a value to biodiversity once they were felled. The idea they came up with was to reposition them but retain the main stems of the trees as ‘monoliths’.
And they then enhanced their potential further through the use of a chain saw to cut tears, cavities and slots to make them attractive to bats in particular, but also to other birds, fungi and to a variety of beetles, bugs and other invertebrates that live on dead wood.
After digging around the roots and establishing a ball, the operatives prepared suitable holes. Even with the main limbs removed, the trees each weighed around ten tonnes, so it was no easy feat to shift them and then make them secure.
Meanwhile, the wood from the branches was also kept and spread around the parkland site to further boost the overall habitat benefit. While bats haven’t colonised the monoliths yet, there are already plenty of other species that are colonising them already.