Why is management necessary?
Ham Lands is a rich mosaic of woodland, scrub and grassland, with a few interesting damp areas including reed beds. Because we have such a complex mixture of habitats Ham Lands supports a surprisingly high level of biodiversity.
This makes it a uniquely fascinating and special place. We value all our habitats at Ham; grassland, scrub and woodland all have their own role to play and fit together like a jigsaw.
In the past, there would have been grazing animals enjoying a rich mixture of plants including new shoots of hawthorn, blackberry and new trees. This would have allowed the rich variety of habitats to continue.
Without the grazing animals, the whole area would gradually become woodland with a devastating impact on the biodiversity.
It may sound obvious but 100 years ago Britain’s countryside was a very different place.Back then it would have been awash with colourful flower-rich meadows and grasslands that were an intrinsic part of our agriculture and people’s daily lives.
In the UK 97% of our meadows have already been lost
To read more about if click here.
Therefore our grasslands at Ham can be considered of regional, if not National importance. There is a crucial need to keep what we have in good order and make people aware of our precious oasis.
The grasslands on Ham Lands are being overtaken by scrub. Some of our flowering plants are being overtaken by more vigorous plants or struggling because of shade from larger shrubs and trees.
This also has an impact on our invertebrates, including butterflies and the birds and bats that feed on them.
FoHL are working closely with local naturalists, Richmond’s environmental officer and the local community, to try and find out as much as we can about the life on the lands.
We are lucky to have excellent aerial photographs of Ham Lands which clearly show the various types habitat. We can see that the woodlands and scrub areas are taking over the grasslands.
This may not be the impression one gets while walking around, but those residents with longer memories of the Lands will be aware that the balance has changed a lot in the 50+ years since the Wates Estate was built.
London's population is fast growing
In a fast growing city all our urban green space are constantly under risk of development during decades the humans need have keep pushing both nature and wild life further and further way.
It is important we protect our green spaces, they help to reduce the carbon footprint and slow down climate change.
The green spaces are also vital to our physical and mental well being.
If you want to learn more about how you can help protect our green space and wild life you can contact London Wild Life Trust.
And you can also read this report from The Country Side Charity that also works for a green city.
Richmond Borough has joined a growing international movement by declaring a climate emergency. The council has also directed staff to consult with the public on recommended revisions to the borough’s
greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets and other climate action strategies.
We were very pleased to get invited to Climate Change Summit in October. FoHL had a stand along with several other organisations that are actively involved in trying to protect the environment we live in, make it better and engage with the community. We also facilitated discussion groups.
There was a great deal of passion, energy and commitment in the room on that day.
To read more about it please click here
Chris Ruse and Sufiyo Andersson at our stall
Sharon Mehta was one of the facilitators for the Climate change discussions
140 people took part in a discussion how we use resources. This included discussion about how our the way we use the land, waterways and surrounding oceans and seas is having a huge impact on the number of living things that can survive together (biodiversity). An increase in carbon dioxide in the air is resulting in increased temperatures and climate change. Hotter temperatures and erratic weather patterns also have an impact on biodiversity.
Nature has a remarkable way of adapting and helping to address problems. But we need a rich biodiversity to enable that to happen. Plants and fungi can absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Plants provide homes and food for a huge number of living things, as well as being critical for our survival.
In turn the animals and fungi support the plants by pollinating, distributing seeds, or by helping to feed or protect them. Left to nature, most plants have fungi associated with their roots that help them collect water and help to feed and protect them.
We will share more information on how we can all make a difference as the reports from the summit are prepared.
In the meantime, FoHL will focus on our work to support the biodiversity on Ham Lands.
We started with a new approche improving the butterfly habitat
We have selected a few small areas that we will keep comng back to and work on. This way we can monitor the effect of what we do and remove the invasive plans as soon as they appear. These areas have been identifitied by local naturalist and the Council's ecology officer. We will also keep and eye on the main footpaths and try to keep them clear of brambles
Here we found Sand leek under the stingy nettles. Diana Bridson is a botanist and she is helping us identify plants. She has studied Ham Lands for decades.
Top picture, Hawthorn roots.
Left, we had good help from the Good Gym to pull up stingy nettles roots.
Right, this area was covered with stingy nettles and brambles last summer, it be interesting to see what comes up first, we are of course hoping to see some wildflowers