Acts of Tree Kindness: Homes and Habitats

Trees can be extremely valuable for other organisms by providing them with places to live, feed and breed.  In return, different wildlife can be of benefit to trees in various ways. For instance, birds distributing seeds in their droppings, or worms bringing decaying leaves down underground and enriching the soil.

Today we are asking you to notice the wildlife that lives in and around your local trees, and to share it with us. It might be some lichen, a fox or a pigeon.

We are also asking you for your ideas for enriching these habitats for wildlife. Have you made a bird box to attach to a tree? Have you planted a wildlife friendly tree species in a school or community garden that provides berries for birds or flowers for pollinators? Remember, the dead wood of fallen trees is extremely valuable for wildlife too.

For more information to the value of street trees for wildlife, and information on the different species they support, take a look at this information from The Woodland Trust:

‘Urban woods and trees support a huge range of wildlife. As somewhere to feed, shelter and breed, they are vitally important for connectivity and supporting species in urban areas. These include some common faces, such as the blackbird and fox, but other species also flourish in built-up areas.’

This free map from London National Park City shows all the green spaces and none of the buildings in the city. This illustrates the importance of  inter-connectivity of habitats, as mentioned by The Woodland Trust, which allows plants and animals to move within the urban landscape.

‘We’ve created a beautiful folded map of London’s great outdoors. Crowdfunded by 308 backers and made for us by Urban Good CIC. The massive map (the same size as a standard Ordnance Survey map, 950mm * 1270mm) includes all of the capital’s 3,000 parks plus woodlands, playing fields, nature reserves, city farms, rivers, canals and all the spaces that contribute to London’s landscape.’

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Photo: James Aldridge

So what can we do to help support the wildlife and increase the amount of habitat provided by trees?

One answer is to plant and protect trees, and we will be covering this in our final Acts of Tree Kindness post on Sunday 24th May. But we also need to become more aware of the birds, mammals, insects, plants, lichen and other organisms that make our urban trees their homes. Once we notice them and start to understand what they need to survive, then we can better support and protect them.

As always, we would love to hear from you, please share your wildlife sightings and your ideas for enriching habitats, using the #ActsOfTreeKindness hashtag and we will share with our followers.

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