5 British Trees and the Wildlife They Support
Trees are everywhere and are an important part of the ecosystem that we all share. Sure, sometimes they might need pruning or removal, but it’s important to remember that they’re all home to incredible varieties of wildlife. We’d like to break down 5 of the most popular trees in the country, and share all the different kinds of life that they help to support.
Ash trees are home to over 41 varieties of insects, who they provide nectar to. Their seeds are also a popular food for bullfinches, while species like owls, nuthatches and woodpeckers use the tree for nesting. Since they can live for a very long time, deadwood specialists like stag beetles get a lot of support from Ash. On top of this, their leaves are a popular food for the caterpillars of many moth species, such as the coronet and private hawk-moth.
There are loads of creatures that benefit from Beech trees, including the tits, chaffinches, mice and squirrels that enjoy eating their nuts. As well as supporting over 64 associated insects, the canopy that beech trees form helps rare plant species thrive, like coralroot bittercrest and a number of types of orchid. The bark of beech also makes a good home for deadwood specialists like hole-nesting birds and wood-boring insects.
3. Silver Birch
The silver birch boasts an impressive 229 associated insect species, while its seeds are very popular with birds and small mammals. Silver birch trees form a light, open canopy which provides the right conditions for grasses and mosses, as well as bluebells, wood sorrel and violets. The caterpillars of many moth species enjoy munching on its leaves, like the pebble hook-tip and Kentish glory, while older trees make a perfect host to bracket fungi and birds like the woodpecker.
Hawthorn trees have some beautiful colours associated with them, like the heavily-scented white flowers they grow in early spring, which are loved by bees and other insects. They grow bright red berries called haws, which are rich in antioxidants and enjoyed by migrating birds like redwings and thrushes, as well as small mammals like dormice. With 149 associated insect species, the denser thorny foliage of the hawthorne makes fantastic nesting for different birds.
There’s a reason the mighty oak is so iconic, and it plays host to more life than any other native tree. Itsupports two-thousand species are supported by the tree, while 229 depend on it for their survival. Their acorns are enjoyed by many mammals, like badgers, deer and squirrels, as well as birds like the woodpecker and, in particular, the jay. Its leaves and flowers are popular among insects, like the caterpillars of the purple hairstreak butterfly, while birds are in turn attracted to the abundance of bugs. The oak’s bark is ideal for nesting bats as well, while it is home to 108 different types of fungi.
There are many more species of tree across the UK, and this is just a taste of them. Just think of how many more species there are that rely on different types of tree across the world. It’s important that we have a good understanding of the wildlife that trees support, so that we know the impact of cutting them down.