Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Can't see the forest...

...for the missing acres of trees:

Robin Hood might have a hard time hiding out in the Sherwood Forest of today.

The forest once covered about 100,000 acres, a big chunk of present-day Nottinghamshire County. Today its core is about 450 acres, with patches spread out through the rest of the county.

Experts say urgent action is needed to regenerate the forest and save the rare and endangered ancient oaks at its heart.

....The forest is beloved for its connection to Robin Hood, the legendary 13th-century bandit who supposedly hid there from his nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham, in between stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

One of Sherwood's oldest and most celebrated trees is Major Oak near Edwinstowe, the town where legend has Robin marrying Maid Marion. Historians believe it and other Sherwood oaks could have been saplings back in Robin's time.

....Each oak has its own management plan and some even have names, like Medusa, Stumpy and Twister. Rangers monitor them closely, watching for branches that look droopy or stressed, anxious to ensure that each tree lives as long as possible, said Paul Cook, a senior ranger.

Ancient oaks survive about 900 years, of which 300 years are spent growing and 300 dying.

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