The view from a small corner of the island..
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Why all this fuss about a scrappy bit of pine forest

Northern Western Atlantic sand dunes systems have suffered a fall in water levels since the 1960's. This has been put down to a number of different reasons. In Braunton its a golf course pumping water, and at Newborough the blame has been placed on the conifer plantation. However there are other factors at Newborough which are affecting flooding other than the forest, especially the pattern of rainfall. Fortunately new research recognises the importance of rainfall.

My concern is that after the forest is felled, any rise in water levels following a period of above average rainfall will lead to the conclusion that it was the removal of the trees that was responsible for the rise (as has happened at Ainsdale). Forest clearance at Newborough will then be used as a example of successful raising of water levels and then used as a justification for the removal of trees in other areas.

I have been recording water levels at Newborough since April 2005 and have analysed the previous FC and CCW waterlevel records from 1989-1996. It seems that:

  • the water levels respond to rainfall,
  • long term variations in effective rainfall can explain the perceived drying out of the warren.
  • and responses of water levels to effective rainfall are very variable and are not significantly different between the forest and warren.


Copyright © Martin Hollingham