Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, rushes, heather, or palm branches, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. Since the bulk of the vegetation stays dry and is densely packed—trapping air—thatching functions as insulation, it is a old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates. Thatch is still employed by builders in developing countries with low-cost local vegetation. By contrast, in some developed countries it is the choice of some affluent people who desire a rustic look for their home, would like a more ecologically friendly roof, or who have purchased an thatched abode. Thatching methods have traditionally been passed down from generation to generation, numerous descriptions of the materials and methods used in Europe over the past three centuries survive in archives and early publications. In some equatorial countries, thatch is the prevalent local material for roofs, walls.
There are diverse building techniques from the ancient Hawaiian hale shelter made from the local ti leaves, lauhala or pili grass. Palm leaves are often used. For example, in Na Bure, thatchers combine fan palm leave roofs with layered reed walls. Feathered palm leaf roofs are used in Dominica. Alang-alang thatched roofs are used in Bali. In Southeast Asia, mangrove nipa palm leaves are used as thatched roof material known as attap dwelling. In Bali, the black fibres of Arenga pinnata called ijuk is used as thatched roof materials used in Balinese temple roof and meru towers. Sugar cane leaf roofs are used in Kikuyu tribal homes in Kenya. Wild vegetation such as water reed, bulrush/cat tail, broom and rushes was used to cover shelters and primitive dwellings in Europe in the late Palaeolithic period, but so far no direct archaeological evidence for this has been recovered. People began to use straw in the Neolithic period when they first grew cereals—but once again, no direct archaeological evidence of straw for thatching in Europe prior to the early medieval period survives.
Many indigenous people of the Americas, such as the former Maya civilization, the Inca empire, the Triple Alliance, lived in thatched buildings. It is common to spot thatched buildings in rural areas of the Yucatán Peninsula as well as many settlements in other parts of Latin America, which resemble the method of construction from distant ancestors. After the collapse of most extant American societies due to diseases introduced by Europeans, wars and genocide, the first Americans encountered by Europeans lived in structures roofed with bark or skin set in panels that could be added or removed for ventilation and cooling. Evidence of the many complex buildings with fiber-based roofing material was not rediscovered until the early 2000s. French and British settlers built temporary thatched dwellings with local vegetation as soon as they arrived in New France and New England, but covered more permanent houses with wooden shingles. In most of England, thatch remained the only roofing material available to the bulk of the population in the countryside, in many towns and villages, until the late 1800s.
Commercial distribution of Welsh slate began in 1820, the mobility provided by canals and railways made other materials available. Still, the number of thatched properties increased in the UK during the mid-1800s as agriculture expanded, but declined again at the end of the 19th century because of agricultural recession and rural depopulation. A 2013 report estimated. Thatch became a mark of poverty, the number of thatched properties declined, as did the number of professional thatchers. Thatch has become much more popular in the UK over the past 30 years, is now a symbol of wealth rather than poverty. There are 1,000 full-time thatchers at work in the UK, thatching is becoming popular again because of the renewed interest in preserving historic buildings and using more sustainable building materials. Although thatch is popular in Germany, The Netherlands, parts of France, Sicily and Ireland, there are more thatched roofs in the United Kingdom than in any other European country. Good quality straw thatch can last for more than 50 years.
Traditionally, a new layer of straw was applied over the weathered surface, this "spar coating" tradition has created accumulations of thatch over 7’ thick on old buildings. The straw is bundled into "yelms" before it is taken up to the roof and is attached using staples, known as "spars", made from twisted hazel sticks. Over 250 roofs in Southern England have base coats of thatch that were applied over 500 years ago, providing direct evidence of the types of materials that were used for thatching in the medieval period. All of these roofs are thatched with wheat, rye, or a "maslin" mixture of both. Medieval wheat grew to 6 feet tall in poor soils and produced durable straw for the roof and grain for baking bread. Technological change in the farming industry affected the popularity of thatching; the availability of good quality thatching straw declined in England after the introduction of the combine harvester in the late 1930s and 1940s, the release of short-stemm
Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management which exploits the capacity of many species of trees to put out new shoots from their stump or roots if cut down. In a coppiced wood, called a copse, young tree stems are cut down to near ground level, known as a stool. New growth emerges and after a number of years, the coppiced tree is harvested and the cycle begins anew. Pollarding is a similar process carried out at a higher level on the tree. Many silviculture practices involve regrowth; the widespread and long-term practice of coppicing as a landscape-scale industry is something that remains of special importance in southern England. Many of the English-language terms referenced in this article are relevant to historic and contemporary practice in that area. A coppiced woodland is harvested in sections or coups on a rotation. In this way, a crop is available each year somewhere in the woodland. Coppicing has the effect of providing a rich variety of habitats, as the woodland always has a range of different-aged coppice growing in it, beneficial for biodiversity.
The cycle length depends upon the species cut, the local custom, the use to which the product is put. Birch can be coppiced for faggots on a three- or four-year cycle, whereas oak can be coppiced over a fifty-year cycle for poles or firewood. Coppicing maintains trees at a juvenile stage, a coppiced tree will never die of old age; the age of a stool may be estimated from its diameter, some are so large—perhaps as much as 5.4 metres across—that they are thought to have been continually coppiced for centuries. Evidence suggests. Coppiced stems are characteristically curved at the base; this curve occurs as the competing stems grow out from the stool in the early stages of the cycle up towards the sky as the canopy closes. The curve may allow the identification of coppice timber in archaeological sites. Timber in the Sweet Track in Somerset has been identified as coppiced lime; the silvicultural system now called coppicing was practiced for small wood production. In German this is called Niederwald.
On in Mediaeval times farmers encouraged pigs to feed from acorns and so some trees were allowed to grow bigger. This different silvicultural system is called in English coppice with standards. In German this is called Mittelwald; as modern forestry seeks to harvest timber mechanically, pigs are no longer fed from acorns, both systems have declined. However, there are cultural and wildlife benefits from these 2 silvicultural systems so both can be found where timber production or some other main forestry purpose is not the sole management objective of the woodland. In the 16th and 17th centuries the technology of charcoal iron production became established in England, continuing in some areas until the late 19th century Along with the growing need for oak bark for tanning, this required large amounts of coppice wood. With this coppice management, wood could be provided for those growing industries in principle indefinitely; this was regulated by a statute of 1544 of Henry VIII, which required woods to be enclosed after cutting and 12 standels to be left in each acre, to be grown into timber.
Coppice with standards has been used throughout most of Europe as a means of giving greater flexibility in the resulting forest product from any one area. The woodland provides not only the small material from the coppice but a range of larger timber for jobs like house building, bridge repair, cart-making and so on. In the 18th century coppicing in Britain began a long decline; this was brought about by the erosion of its traditional markets. Firewood was no longer needed for domestic or industrial uses as coal and coke became obtained and transported, wood as a construction material was replaced by newer materials. Coppicing died out first in the north of Britain and contracted towards the south-east until by the 1960s active commercial coppice was concentrated in Kent and Sussex; the shoots may be used either in their young state for interweaving in wattle fencing or the new shoots may be allowed to grow into large poles, as was the custom with trees such as oaks or ashes. This creates long, straight poles which do not have the bends and forks of grown trees.
Coppicing may be practiced to encourage specific growth patterns, as with cinnamon trees which are grown for their bark. Another, more complicated system is called compound coppice. Here some of the standards would be left; some of the coppice would be allowed to grow into new standards and some regenerated coppice would be there. Thus there would be three age classes. Coppiced hardwoods were used extensively in carriage and shipbuilding, they are still sometimes grown for making wooden buildings and furniture. Withies for wicker-work are grown in coppices of various willow species, principally osier. In France, chestnut trees are coppiced for use as canes and bâtons for the martial art Canne de combat; some Eucalyptus species are coppiced in a number of countries. The Sal tree is coppiced in India, the Moringa oleifera tree is
Willow Man is a large outdoor sculpture by Serena de la Hey. It is in a field to the West of the M5 motorway, near Bridgwater in Somerset, South West England, near to the Bristol to Exeter railway line and south of junction 23 of the motorway, it stands 40 feet, with a 16-foot arm span, is made of black maul willow withies woven over a 3-tonne steel frame. Willow Man was commissioned by South West Arts, for the Year of the Artist, was unveiled in September 2000, it marks the millennium and celebrates the role of willow in the ecology and craft tradition of the Somerset Levels. The first sculpture was burnt down in an arson attack on 8 May 2001; the sculpture was rebuilt by the same artist in October 2001, a 130-foot circular moat was excavated around it as a precaution against further attacks. A notable landmark, it can be described as a somehow permanent Wicker man sculpture; the sculpture is popularly known as Withy Man, or Angel of the South in reference to Antony Gormley's sculpture Angel of the North.
The name Angel of the South is now used as the unofficial title for a proposed colossal sculpture in Ebbsfleet. In September 2006 Willow Man received "a £20,000 hair cut"; the sculptor Serena de la Hey said that she thought many local birds had been using the material for their nests. When the artist saw her sculpture she was "shocked to see the wear and tear". In 2018 an appeal to raise funds for the repair of the structure failed to meet its target. List of statues by height Serena de la Hey website BBC Interview with Serena de la Hey
Salix viminalis, the basket willow, common osier or osier, is a species of willow native to Europe, Western Asia, the Himalayas. Salix viminalis is a multistemmed shrub growing to between 6 m tall, it has long, straight branches with greenish-grey bark. The leaves long and slender, 10–25 cm long but only 0.5–2 cm broad. The flowers are catkins, produced in early spring before the leaves; the male catkins are oval-shaped. It is found by streams and other wet places; the exact native range is uncertain due to extensive historical cultivation. As a cultivated or naturalised plant, it is widespread throughout both Britain and Ireland, but only at lower altitudes, it is one of the least variable willows. Along with other related willows, the flexible twigs are used in basketry, giving rise to its alternative common name of "basket willow". In the Chilean village of Chimbarongo, it is used to fashion the renowned baskets. Another increasing use is in energy forestry, effluent treatment, in wastewater gardens, in cadmium phytoremediation for water purification.
Salix viminalis is a known hyperaccumulator of cadmium, lead, petroleum hydrocarbons, organic solvents, MTBE, TCE and byproducts, silver and zinc, potassium ferrocyanide, as such is a prime candidate for phytoremediation. For more information, see the list of hyperaccumulators. Among the most common pathogens on S. viminalis are Melampsora spp. Female plants are more infected than male plants
A fascine is a rough bundle of brushwood or other material used for strengthening an earthen structure, or making a path across uneven or wet terrain. Typical uses are protecting the banks of streams from erosion. In war they are used to create paths for tanks and other vehicles across uneven terrain. Fascine bundles were used in military defences for revetting trenches or ramparts around artillery batteries, or filling in ditches from earlier military actions, they were used as a visual obstruction, providing cover for sappers and engineers. Military fascine bridges were used on a regular basis by the Romans to cross obstacles. Subsequently, the use of fascines by military engineers continued wherever armies were deployed. First World War tanks, namely the British Mark IV, started the practice of carrying fascines on the roof, to be deployed to fill trenches that would otherwise be an obstacle to the tank; these were constructed from the traditional bundles of brushwood used to make fascines since Roman times.
Although these were cumbersome to deploy they proved an effective gap crossing device and were used by the tanks of the day that weighed up to about 30 tons. In World War II the use of fascines continued as a gap crossing device and within the British Army these were launched from the Churchill AVRE - a Royal Engineer derivative of the standard Churchill tank; the Imperial Japanese Army pre-positioned fascines made of metal pipes across the Khalkha River in advance of the IJA's 1939 foray into Mongolia. The use of hollow pipes had been predicated on their ability to allow water flow. While these fascines were designed for stealth rather than combat deployment and were not deployed via armoured vehicles, the use of hollow pipes as fascines was a significant step forward; the pipe fascine was further developed in the British Army in the early 1980s to meet the challenges of assuring the mobility of movement in West Germany in the event of a NATO conflict with the Warsaw Pact. The majority of obstacles to mobility in West Germany run north–south, movement by military forces would have been east–west.
Within the area of operation of the British Army, near Hannover, there is a significant number of smaller gaps drainage ditches and small rivers 5–10 m wide and 1.5 – 2.5 m deep that are sufficient to stop armoured vehicles. Given the low number of AVLBs available, a solution was needed to bridge these gaps and cheaply and under fire. In earlier wars, wooden fascines had been used, but these were ineffective for use with the much heavier modern vehicles, some of which weighed up to 70 tons; the Royal Engineers Experimental Establishment at Christchurch did initial tests on the possible use of 9-inch high-density plastic pipes held together with chains. These would allow water flow, not be damaged with the higher modern vehicle weight. Further development was done by Lt C Roebuck RE and his troop, 5 Troop, 31 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 32 Armoured Engineer Regiment at Munsterlager, North Germany in 1981/2, to enable full acceptance and provide user instructions for operational use; this development involved testing in different gaps and conditions, eg concrete line canals to earth banked rural field drainage channels,possibility of multiple fascine use in a single gap and launch testing both day, night and in limited visibility.
During the trials the development team drivers became skilled at the launching of the fascine and were able to launch two or 3 fascines into a single gap. However for regular operational use by less skilled crews it was recommended that only single fascines should be used as the use of 2nd or 3rd fascines required the launch vehicle to launch the subsequent fascine whilst on the unstable first fascine; this required a perfect launch to ensure the second fascine was in place to make the first fascine stable and held in position. If this did not happen there was significant risk to the launch vehicle and crew in water filled gaps. A launch technique was developed: approach the target gap at speed, line up onto alignment/ launch markers, drive over first marker brake at second marked point and fire the explosive bolts holding the travel hawsers so that the fascine, through inertia, rolled off the directly into the middle of the gap; when in position, they travel over it to level the road surface for other vehicles to cross.
This whole process would take less than 1 minute, essential for an assault crossing under fire. The fascine was subsequently accepted into service and used in a number of operational and non-operational roles using the Centurion AVRE, a Centurion tank derivative with a bulldozer blade and 165mm demolition gun fitted, it was used in combat for the first time during the First Iraq war to breach anti tank ditches. The British Army now use the Trojan, based on the Challenger 2 tank, to carry and deploy pipe fascines. Billhook Fasces Fascine knife Ferula Withy Spiling "Live and Inert Fascine Streambank Erosion Control". An article on use of fascines in river training for erosion control
Salix daphnoides or European violet willow is a species of plant in the family Salicaceae. It can grow as a large shrub or small tree reaching a height of between 6 and 8 metres, but can grow up to 12 metres tall, it has a rounded crown with spreading branches with grey bark. Twigs are dark red/brown in colour and somewhat shiny, it has large buds, either hairless or with erect hairs. Leaves are oblong to narrow/obovate between 7 to 12cm long and 2 to 3 cm in width, they are hairy at first, but soon become glabrous, being a dark shiny green on their upper surfaces, glaucous on their undersides. Catkins appear in February-March. S. daphnoides occurs scattered across central Europe, ranging between the Baltic states and Piedmont, from the Balkans to eastern France. It is native in the Alps and the Carpathians, but has been naturalised by cultivation across a much wider area, it occurs at altitudes between 2,000 metres. It grows along the banks of rivers and wetlands in alpine areas, preferring sand, pebbly or bolder-rich alluvial substrates.
Outside these areas it does descend into lowland areas, occurring along main rivers such as the Visla and the Rhine as well as in loose sand dunes. The species is regarded by the IUCN as having a conservation status of'Least Concern' because of its broad distribution within a number of ecologically protected areas, it is listed on a number of'red lists' of individual countries. Because the bark of S. daphnoides is rich in salicin, it makes the species of medicinal value. It is planted to provide reinforcement to coastal and continental sand dunes, but is widely planted as an ornamental species in parks and along roads
Fraxinus, English name ash, is a genus of flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45–65 species of medium to large trees deciduous, though a few subtropical species are evergreen; the genus is widespread across much of Europe and North America. The tree's common English name, "ash", traces back to the Old English æsc which relates to the Proto-Indo-European for the tree, while the generic name originated in Latin from a Proto-Indo-European word for birch. Both words are used to mean "spear" in their respective languages as the wood is good for shafts; the leaves are opposite, pinnately compound, simple in a few species. The seeds, popularly known as "keys" or "helicopter seeds", are a type of fruit known as a samara. Most Fraxinus species are dioecious, having male and female flowers on separate plants but gender in ash is expressed as a continuum between male and female individuals, dominated by unisexual trees. With age, ash may change their sexual function from predominantly male and hermaphrodite towards femaleness.
Rowans or mountain ashes have leaves and buds superficially similar to those of true ashes, but belong to the unrelated genus Sorbus in the rose family. Species arranged into sections supported by phylogenetic analysis. Section DipetalaeFraxinus anomala Torr. Ex S. Watson – singleleaf ash Fraxinus dipetala Hook. & Arn. – California ash or two-petal ash Fraxinus quadrangulata Michx. – blue ash Fraxinus trifoliataSection FraxinusFraxinus angustifolia Vahl – narrow-leafed ash Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. Oxycarpa – Caucasian ash Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. Syriaca Fraxinus excelsior L. – European ash Fraxinus holotricha Koehne Fraxinus mandschurica Rupr. – Manchurian ash Fraxinus nigra Marshall – black ash Fraxinus pallisiae Wilmott – Pallis' ash Fraxinus sogdiana BgeSection Melioides sensu latoFraxinus chiisanensis Fraxinus cuspidata Torr. – fragrant ash Fraxinus platypoda Fraxinus spaethiana Lingelsh. – Späth's ashSection Melioides sensu strictoFraxinus albicans Buckley – Texas ash Fraxinus americana L. – white ash or American ash Fraxinus berlandieriana DC.
– Mexican ash Fraxinus caroliniana Mill. – Carolina ash Fraxinus latifolia Benth. – Oregon ash Fraxinus papillosa Lingelsh. – Chihuahua ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall – green ash Fraxinus profunda Bush – pumpkin ash Fraxinus uhdei Lingelsh. – Shamel ash or tropical ash Fraxinus velutina Torr. – velvet ash or Arizona ashSection OrnusFraxinus apertisquamifera Fraxinus baroniana Fraxinus bungeana DC. – Bunge's ash Fraxinus chinensis Roxb. – Chinese ash or Korean ash Fraxinus floribunda Wall. – Himalayan manna ash Fraxinus griffithii C. B. Clarke – Griffith's ash Fraxinus japonica – Japanese ash Fraxinus lanuginosa – Japanese ash Fraxinus longicuspis Fraxinus malacophylla Fraxinus micrantha Lingelsh. Fraxinus ornus L. – manna ash or flowering ash Fraxinus paxiana Lingelsh. Fraxinus sieboldiana Blume – Japanese flowering ashSection PaucifloraeFraxinus dubia Fraxinus gooddingii – Goodding's ash Fraxinus greggii A. Gray – Gregg's ash Fraxinus purpusii Fraxinus rufescensSection SciadanthusFraxinus dimorpha Fraxinus hubeiensis Ch'u & Shang & Su – 湖北梣 hu bei qin Fraxinus xanthoxyloides Wall.
Ex DC. – Afghan ash North American native ash tree species are a critical food source for North American frogs, as their fallen leaves are suitable for tadpoles to feed upon in ponds, large puddles, other water bodies. Lack of tannins in the American ash makes their leaves a good food source for the frogs, but reduces its resistance to the ash borer. Species with higher leaf tannin levels are taking the place of native ash, thanks to their greater resistance to the ash borer, they produce much less suitable food for the tadpoles, resulting in poor survival rates and small frog sizes. Ash species native to North America provide important habit and food for various other creatures native to North America, such as a long-horn beetle, avian species, mammalian species. Ash is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species; the emerald ash borer is a wood-boring beetle accidentally introduced to North America from eastern Asia via solid wood packing material in the late 1980s to early 1990s.
It has killed tens of millions of trees in 22 states in the United States and adjacent Ontario and Quebec in Canada. It threatens some seven billion ash trees in North America. Research is being conducted to determine if three native Asian wasps that are natural predators of EAB could be used as a biological control for the management of EAB populations in the United States; the public is being cautioned not to transport unfinished wood products, such as firewood, to slow the spread of this insect pest. The European ash, Fraxinus excelsior, has been affected by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, causing ash dieback in a large number of trees since the mid-1990s in eastern and northern Europe; the disease has infected about 90% of Denmark's ash trees. At the end of October 2012 in the UK, the Food and Environment Research Agency reported that ash dieback had been discovered in mature woodland in Suffolk. In 2016, the ash tree was reported as in danger of extinction in Europe. Ash is a hardwood and is hard, dense and strong but elastic, extensively used for making bows, tool handles, baseball bats and other uses demanding high strength and resilience.