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CREATE/DESTROY: Managing natural habitats in an age of climate change.

The CREATE/DESTROY project began at the start of July 2007 in a woodland shelter belt planted around 30 years ago on the edge of the Penrose estate, near Helston Cornwall. The initial point of reference for the proj age.

The plantation is owned by the National Trust and managed for nature conservation, amenity purposes, as a shelter belt, a screen, an educational resource and as a source of bio fuel for a wood chip boiler that heats the no permanent public access. The shelter belt has been periodically thinned to weed out diseased or poor specimens to allow more light into the woodland enabling better trees to grow. The felled timber, which has mainl

CREATE/DESTROY focussed on the principles of traditional woodland management used by nature conservation organisations to draw out a visual conversation that that could contribute to the discourse surrounding th agement when making decisions about the habitats under their care when faced with an uncertain environmental future. The ancient Beech woods of the South Chilterns in the South East for example, are not expected least a carbon sink, (albeit an impoverished in nature conservation terms), will still remain? If so when do we start, who will cut the first tree down? As the impact of our life styles continues to spiral upwards and our relia

CREATE/DESTROY sought to illustrate the difficulties faced by those dealing with these issues and based the projects activities on the then recently introduced programme of harvesting wood for bio fuel and how the qu tive artwork that involved the destruction of 40 Ash, Turkey Oak and Chestnut trees using ring barking an ancient woodland management technique. The long term objective of the project was specifically to bring back ba breeding and feeding sites for invertebrates, bats and bird species. The bark removal began in July after demarcation of the condemned trees by the estate warden. The trees destroyed were chosen as part of the long t ‘Guided Work’ an event that took place to coincide with the mixed exhibition ‘off site:inside’ presented at Newlyn Art Gallery February 2008 and was curated by Sara Bowler. A further exhibition of on and off site presenta and guided walks of the mass ring barking of the 40 trees took place in the parkland setting of Lower Lanner farm on the Penrose estate.

It was intended that the eventual dead standing trees would be left to decay in situ thus providing an important habitat for invertebrates and bird species that depend on and colonise decaying timber. However, given the conceived there had always been a question mark in my mind regarding how long this dead standing, ecologically beneficial art work could be left in place before it was deemed more useful as a bio fuel, potentially dang

The decision to remove the CREATE/DESTROY project for bio fuel was made in 2010. All that remains now of the project is this extensive archive assembled to illustrate the various stages of the project from initial destruction, bark regrowth, seasonal changes and the die back of the canopy through to the Bruce Davies 2011

Dead wood is an important invertebrate habitat, and the saproxylic species associated with the decay of timber are very diverse and of exceptional value for conservation. Dead wood occurs in a wide variety of forms including standing dead wood which is often an uncommon habitat.(Kirby 1992) Saproxylic organisms are species that depend on dead wood at some stage in their life cycle. They vary from woodpeckers to fungi but the most biodiverse groups are Coleoptera (beetles) and flies (Diptera). Over most of Europe saproxylic organisms are under threat, due to the removal of woodland cover and impoverishment of what remains (Speight 1989). Trees use two vascular tissues for transportation of water and nutrients. The xylem also known as the wood (its basic function is to transport water, but it also transports some nutrients through the tree) and the phloem is the inner most layer of the bark and is the living tissue that is responsible for the translocation of soluble organic nutrients made during photosynthesis such as sucrose to all parts of the tree. Death by ring barking results from the inability of the leaves to transport nutrients (primarily sucrose) to the roots and the inability of the roots to transport nutrients upwards through the xylem.

© 2011 Bruce Davies. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.

ject was an interest in the difficulties and challenges facing land managers using traditional land management techniques in an age of climate change and how in turn this effects the decisions for the habitats they man-

e estates offices and holiday cottages. Recent educational initiatives with Helston School have taken place and focus on the role of traditional woodland management in the practices used by the National Trust. It has ly been used for logs, is now removed from the woodland and dry stored until ready to be converted into wood chips by a tractor mounted chipper.

he future management of the landscape under pressure from climate change. The initial point of reference for this was an interest in the difficulties and challenges facing land managers involved in traditional land manto survive the predicted rise in temperature. How do you plan for the unknown? Should the Beech woods be clear felled now to ensure that a more drought hardy, possibly alien species is replanted so that, at the very ance on non renewable energy increases, so what for the future? Nature conservation, amenity, carbon sink or bio fuel?

uest for cleaner energy production may have other costs that we may have to overlook if we are to make any head way in decreasing our collective carbon foot print. The project developed into a durational, performaack dead standing wood into the management of the shelter belt and leave the ring barked trees to decay where they stood. Dead standing timber contributes to the bio diversity of woodland habitats by creating nesting, term thinning programme for the shelter belt and had been set aside for removal as bio-mass. The destruction of the trees continued on a weekly basis until November 2007 with the final ring barking taking place during ations including video film, archive material, installations

building pressure (in respect of climate change) on natural resources now and in the coming decades, the necessity to produce low carbon energy led to a premature demise for the project. Since the project had been gerous or visually displeasing.

e destruction of the work for bio mass.

Bruce Davies has an established and dynamic practice that has become notable for the extensive platforms he has created for the presentation of his work and formulation of his ideas. His interests in exploring practical applications for contemporary art, visual enquiry and research are prominent in his site specific explorations of contemporary land use. Recognition of the contexts of place play a fundamental part in the success of these often ambitious land based and urban projects that have been staged both across the UK and internationally. He is based in West Cornwall, UK.


A photo-document recording the CREATE/DESTROY project. This durational and performative project focussed on the principles of traditional wo...


A photo-document recording the CREATE/DESTROY project. This durational and performative project focussed on the principles of traditional wo...