Archive for November, 2010

Aizkorri, Gipuzkoa – top site for old beech trees in Spain?

Jill, Ted and Helen Read are with Inaki Aizpuru and his colleagues on a mountain side in the heart of the Basque Country. Inaki is the Director of Climate Change and Biodiversity Projects for the Basque Government. We met some stupendous beech pollards in one of the largest concentrations of big old pollards in Northern Spain. See some more photos most of them are the right way round and find more stories about Jill and Ted’s adventures on Facebook


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Les trognes, l’arbre paysan aux mille usages

The eagerly anticipated new book by Dominique Mansion is now on sale just in time for Christmas. href=””>

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Change in the deadwood law…

…but only in Navarra unfortunately. Jill meets Oscar Schwendtler in the wonderful Natural Park of Sierra Andia. He explains that Sierra Andia is an ancient wood pasture commonland area full of ancient beech trees and fallen wood. Until last year commoners could collect deadwood but the law has changed and it is no longer allowed. This is a very important step for biodiversity in what must be a top site in Spain if not Europe for old beech wood specialists.

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The black poplars of the idyllic Pancrudo Valley

Ted talks about the lovely pollards along the Pancrudo Valley. We took this video when we joined the Fiesta at Torre los Negros along with 300 other people. We will show you also the demonstration of cutting the pollards that they organised for the participants.

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Amigos de los Chopos Caberceros

So what are Chopos Cabeceros? They are black poplar pollards and there is a very special concentration of them in the dry part of Spain near Calamocha, Teruel. Ted and I were invited to participate in a conference run by local tree activist Chabier de Jaime and others. The video is in Spanish but Chabier explains about the importance of these pollards which create a landscape that we think is almost unique in Europe. It’s a very dry area and the trees line the river valleys. In the past these trees were pollarded for roof timbers – the poplar wood is very light for its strength and often exported to the towns on the Mediterranean coast for building. In spring and autumn the valleys are perhaps at their very best as the trees come into leaf or in their autumn gold. However at all times of the year the atmosphere as you walk along and among the trees is superb. All around is a fascinating landscape of geological colours as a backdrop – the reds, whites and greens of the rock, cultivated earth and the terraces. Once an active mining area, it has become famous for dinosaur fossil finds. Why not go to next years III Fiesta del Chopo Cabecero at the end of October 2011? I know that the local community would welcome you all with open arms. We joined the Fiesta and were honoured to receive their annual award and become Amigos del Chopo Cabercero!

Dominique Mansion was there too and he couldnt resist a sketch on the lunch time table cloth of what he could see out through the door of the hall in Torre del Negro. We’ll put a pdf of his new Les Trognes display on the ATF website and let you all know when his new book is published.

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