Monolithing a line of willows

…for the biodiversity!


What’s the point in felling a tree if you can monolith it? I have asked myself that a few times over the last couple of months, particularly since reading more about saproxylic insects and the huge importance of dead and decaying material within an ecosystem. In this case, six white willow (Salix alba), all of which were absolutely riddled with Ganoderma sp. (suspected Ganoderma australe) and potentially some Phellinus igniarius (on one or two), were prime subjects. Situated over a new perimeter footpath in a large parkland, their retention as large specimens was not feasible, though their removal would have been an ecological travesty. Therefore, they were monolithed.

Unfortunately, they had to be hit harder than originally intended, and one fell (the one on the left in the first image) during high winds, and there were literally no areas of sound wood – I was pulling away the entire root system, as if it were nothing whatsoever. Disconcerting…!

Below, I am sharing but a very select few images from before and after. I have dozens of images of close-ups of the fungi, though I’d rather not bore you with pictures of sporophores!

Here we can see three of the six willows. Serious decline is evident within their crowns.
Laden with Ganoderma sp. sporophores! This butt was totally girdled.
This photo is from the base of the three on the right in the first image.
Here we can see two of them after they had been monolithed. Looking good, if I am honest!
And two more, complete with the perimeter path right alongside. Safety regained, habitat retained (in part).
Monolithing a line of willows

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