Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Leg Cocking

The piles of cut wood referred to in this post form a purpose that is not always understood by walkers in the countryside. There are scores of them in woods near the car park. Everywhere that Sheffield Wildlife Trust works doing their woodland management you can be sure to see piles of logs. They are left there, first of all rather untidy then later a group collect them into a neat pile. It is, we are told, for wildlife and biodiversity reasons that they are not removed: a pile of logs gradually rotting away is a good habitat for all sorts of creatures. That’s the story. Of course if you just leave the woodland to evolve in its own way dead wood would fall to the ground and rot away with no need for human intervention. But it’s important for those who manage to show that managing is necessary. The mantra is Woodland Must Be Managed. If we were not here, they say, everything would go wrong. The piles of logs fulfil an important symbolic role. They tell us that the managers are here and in charge. This is a managed landscape and this is the mark. A statement of ownership and power. To that extent it is a reflection of the practice of wild animals marking their territory. The managers who manage the woods and insist that piles of logs are left are behaving just as the dogs who cock legs. It’s a declaration that all who pass that way are meant to note.

No comments: