Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Wood in Winter

A wood which has become the extension 
of a 
Chianti garden

Once the woods around here were cultivated for their various uses: brush for fires and ovens, wood for fuel, tools and farmwork and to make charcoal.

 Friends of ours near Panzano in Chianti have spent endless hours clearing the brush, brambles, stunted trees and bushes from the wood above their house.

Such thinning encourages stronger growth and gives more space to historic old growth trees which provide oxygen for
the environment.
The work has gone on over several winters with a team of hardworking and skilful helpers.

The wood now presents as an optimal climax forest with full growth trees and only the sturdiest saplings. Oak (downy and turkey), some holm oak, manna ash, hazel, wild cherry and cornelian cherry are the principal trees. Find here a taxonomy of trees at Le Ripe.

 Undergrowth has been burnt so that the wood floor is clear of all but autumn leaves.

 Interestingly, the forest looks almost
exactly as it did in the provincial registry of 1957. For further comparisons between then and now see From Farm to Forest.

Apart from the forest which was tended like any other crop and occupies the same area as today, note how intensively the land was farmed 60 years ago
 This revitalized forest did not suffer in the drought of 2017.  
It stayed green because fewer plants
were competing for water. 

Although it is no longer a farm resource (apart from the fuel garnered from the thinning and much potential mulch from chipping prunings), the wood has become a handsome extension of the large garden which surrounds the farmhouse below.

For more on forests and their conservation in Tuscany see  

1 comment:

  1. A most interesting post on the wooded area,the careful care and attention to
    preserve its ecology,the trees taxonomy/dendrology,and the excellent photography,make this a most worthy addition to the author's considerable list of Tuscan topics.


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