by Heather Atchison

Forests rustle, grow 
We slash, burn, love yet neglect
Now, we must protect


Trees of hope

The world turns, burns
Forests flame in the palms of our hands
We watch, as people battle the unstoppable
Again, and again

So we contemplate the unthinkable
More
Much more
And worse, to come

What on earth are we doing?

Here, our own forests stand
Noble and unburned
In tiny pockets across our land
Slow-growing woodlands 
Neglected
Precious
Far too few

I think of the woods I know so well
The bluebell glades high on the hill 
Forests crisscrossed with trails
Weekend respite from pavements, traffic, city noise

Our native broad-leafed woodlands 
Home to thousands of creatures
From the tiniest of spiders to families of deer
Our natural noise and rain absorbers
Places to reset our heads

Worth 12 times more living, as carbon stores
Than dead, as wood to sell
But only to those thinking beyond the now

What can we do? What can we do?

Our own ancient forests are fragmented, neglected, under threat
We need more trees
And to tend to the ones we have

Whitehall makes the right noises
Backs the Woodland Carbon Guarantee
Money for landowners to plant trees, instead of crops
Commits to planting more woodlands each year
But political talk is cheap
And their targets not enough
Too easy to shift
Until it’s too late

What can we do? What can I do?

You, me, all of us, feeling helpless
But there are things we can do now
In our families, our towns, our nearest woods

We can teach the children
Get them into the woods
And bring nature into our schools
To create learning and love

We can eat less meat
Lessen the need to plant crops instead of trees
Make sure that expanding UK woodlands
Doesn’t send suffering to forests elsewhere

We can give time to our local Wildlife Trusts
Spend days coppicing and managing our nearest woods
Become a local tree warden
Join organisations planting new woodlands

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed
Helpless in the face of what we’re doing to this planet

But WE are doing it
And we can do things differently

Our trees hold hope.
Still.

What can you do?


Read Margaret Kenna’s 26 Habitats deciduous woodland centena and essay.

Read Gemma Cantelo’s 26 Habitats deciduous woodland centena.

2 thoughts on “Deciduous woodland

  1. An impassioned plea Heather urging everyone into action as it’s our duty now. Lovely haiku to lead into your pledge.

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