From Wildlife Extra:
Traditional orchards – National Trust launches conservation project
Orchards are very important for a range of wildlife
Windfall brings fresh hope for traditional orchards
April 2009. A new project has been launched to halt the loss of traditional orchards across England and help revive their fortunes.
More than 60 per cent of traditional orchards in England have vanished since the 1950s as a result of development pressures, conversion to other uses and small scale producers suffering at the hands of the economics of fruit growing, which have ultimately led to the neglect of orchards. …
Some of the wildlife that can be found in traditional orchards includes:
Noble chafer beetle, a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species – recorded at Croft Castle, Home Farm, Herefordshire.
Mistletoe bug – nationally scarce – recorded at Brockhampton, Herefordshire, Croome Park, Worcestershire, Parke Estate, Devon, and Errdig, Clwyd.
Mistletoe weevil (new record for Britain) – Brockhampton in Herefordshire.
Mistletoe tortix moth Celypha woodiana – Red Data Book 2.
Orchard bark beetle – Parke Estate and Killerton, both in Devon.
Apple tree lace bug, BAP species – Killerton in Devon.
Yellow ant hills – Brockhampton in Herefordshire and Broadway Clump Farm in Gloucestershire.
Nationally scarce/rare invertebrate fauna – associated with old decaying fruit trees such as the beetles Lissodema quadripustulata and Tillus elongatus – recorded at Snowshill, Pipers Grove Farm, Gloucestershire.
A longhorn beetle Molorchus umbellatarum – Brockhampton in Herefordshire.
Waxcaps (Hygrocybe) – Hygrocybe calyptriformis a BAP species – brightly coloured grassland fungi – recorded on properties with old grasslands in parks, orchards and more formal lawns.
Dead wood fungi. For example, Inonotus hispidus – Leith Hill and Etherley Farm in Surrey.
Mistletoe – a number of orchards – Brockhampton in Herefordshire; Killerton; Parke in Devon; Lytes Cary in Somerset.
Corky fruited water dropwort – recorded on properties with orchards in Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
Bats – long-eared bats feed in orchards at Killerton in Devon.
Birds – red list – bullfinch, song thrush, spotted flycatcher, tree sparrow, turtle dove, lesser spotted woodpecker, house sparrow; wryneck [see also here] (more or less absent from England but historically associated with, and still reliant on, orchards in Europe).
Beetle Dictyoptera aurora near Nijmegen, a first for the Netherlands: here.
American mistletoe: here.
August 2010: You would expect a wildlife charity to wax lyrical about the importance of lush, berry bearing plants for wildlife. But the RSPB believes that wildlife badly needs dead trees in our gardens too. It says the presence of dead or decaying wood is an important but often overlooked element of wildlife gardening: here.
March 2012. An outbreak of the Asian longhorn beetle (ALB), an exotic beetle pest which could have severe consequences for British trees, has been found in Kent the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) have confirmed. This is the first time an outbreak of this pest has been found in the UK and it is being treated extremely seriously. Fera and the Forestry Commission are taking urgent steps to try to eradicate the outbreak before it has the chance to spread further afield: here.
October 2013. A report released by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has found that of around 1,000 hectares of remaining traditionally managed orchard identified in Wales, more than a third of sites (35%) are neglected or threatened, and only 7% are in excellent condition. This survey adds significantly to the national inventory of traditional orchards in the UK and knowledge about this habitat: here.
- National Trust puts pressure on Owen Paterson over badger cull (theguardian.com)
- Rhinoceros beetle discovery in England (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Visiting Boa Vista Orchards (salmonfishingqueen.wordpress.com)
- Maintenance of a Living Understory Enhances Soil Carbon Sequestration in Subtropical Orchards (plosone.org)
- Scouts help feed Kings Langley wildlife with new orchard (watfordobserver.co.uk)