Web of Life

Understanding the relationship between nature and how land is used is at the heart of what I do in conservation management planning.  Today I was back at historic Dinefwr learning how an ancient deer park…

Photo: Mike Alexander

Photo: Mike Alexander

with ancient trees planted 500 years ago…

Photo: Mike Alexander

Photo: Mike Alexander

that is grazed by the descendants of those first fallow deer…

Fallow deer herd  Photo: Mike Alexander

Fallow deer herd Photo: Mike Alexander

with a good helping of clean, warm, wet, Welsh air, can provide perfect conditions for lichen communities that can take hundreds of years to become established, and only if conditions are just right…

Photo: Mike Alexander

Photo: Mike Alexander

Once the relationships are understood, making the appropriate management decisions is relatively easy.  These rare lichens need light, open conditions on old parkland trees that grow without competition from neighbours or smothering from ivy and scrub.  Grazing livestock create these conditions, and a deer park created in the 1700’s is the perfect place to find them.

And lots of other wildlife also benefits, from beautiful woodpeckers, red kites, treecreepers, to tiny beetles living in the dead wood and even tinier yellow meadow ants who make their anthills in the ancient grassland…

Photo: Mike Alexander

Photo: Mike Alexander


About Mike Howe

I am an ecologist and a composer of guitar based instrumental melodies signed to the Real Music label in California. I like to write about my work, music and nature conservation and how it all comes together. I try not to write about things I don't know much about.
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27 Responses to Web of Life

  1. Thank you for the beautiful walk, Mike!
    Such a beautiful landscape and so lively – well woth understanding and preserving. 🙂
    Much love,

  2. elkement says:

    What a workplace – like the set of Lord of the Rings! It must really be great to spend so much time outside “naturally” as part of your daily routine.

    I have just read some books on sleep research and chronobiology and learned how much our internal clocks have become delayed and turned as into more owlish later chronotypes due to our office-bound and stare-at-computers-late-at-night lifestyle.

    • Mike Howe says:

      Thanks Elke, it is great to be able to go out into places like that and think about how they should be managed. I like the way we have developed a system that listens to and observes nature so that we can adapt our management to fit what is really going on. It’s a much more humble approach to management. And after all that thinking I don’t have any trouble getting to sleep at night! 😉

  3. Jo Woolf says:

    What wonderful work to be involved in, Mike, and it sounds as if you love it. Stunning photos, too!

  4. LuAnn says:

    A very interesting post Mike. Thank you for sharing it. 🙂

  5. Gallivanta says:

    A very fine, delicate balance; amazing.

  6. ksbeth says:

    beautiful post mike –

  7. drawandshoot says:

    Lichens have always intrigued me. Great post, Mike, very interesting. And gorgeous photographs, as always!

  8. Colline says:

    What a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing it through your photographs.

  9. Sophie L. says:

    Wonderful set !!!
    Have a nice evening

  10. Hanna says:

    It is so interesting told and very beautiful captured. When I see nature shown as in the last picture, it’s like time stands still. Thanks for sharing Mike and Mike 🙂
    All the best,

  11. Elina says:

    What a wonderful park! Very beautiful photos and your work seems so fascinating!

  12. Beautiful post, Mike and Mike, both photos and write-up.

  13. A deer park – how very wonderful! fabulous photos. Thank you, Mike and Mike.

Comments very welcome

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