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The Art of Natural Forest Practice
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Left - Honey fungus fruiting in abundance on decaying logs which pickled provide for my winter casserole.

What can we take without harming the woodland?

Very little.  All our woodlands in Britain are so denuded that we must exercise great caution.  As owner (I prefer guardian) I do not have the privilege to take as I please.  We, as species, are now so numerous that our native fauna and flora are endangered; legislation prevents us from picking the wild flowers and harming the badgers least they become so scarce there are none for our grandchildren to appreciate.
In principle I don’t take anything from my woodland- with few exceptions.  I do not pick the bluebells, nor the fungi (with one exception- photo opposite), nor decorations for my house or take logs for the stove (except with strict control).  Somehow it hurts to take the best and when faded consign to the landfill.
* I refer to this as my abundance policy.  It governs everything I take (timber, firewood, fungi, flowers, herbs, etc).  Why, because I regard these things as belonging to the residents of the woodland, not me.  Woodland in Britain is under such pressure that as owner I am obliged to protect, not to take.
* I never take anything that is scarce, eg. yellow archangel, most fungi, even logs for friends.  I take, pick, cut, only where there is a surplus and only from my own woodland.  The one exception is firewood, which I take in exchange for my caring hand in restoring the health of the woodland, and then only for my own use and only by ensuring there is increasing amount of wood left to decay every year.





Left – Bluebell and yellow archangel and ferns that I do not pick.