A Rocha UK are watching life spring from death, as they get ready for the official opening of their new nature reserve Foxearth Meadows. They’ve found that dragonflies are using diseased trees as nurseries on the 11-acre site by the Essex-Suffolk border.
As a result, A Rocha UK have decided not to chop the fungus-ridden wood, and let their residents flourish. They will officially open Foxearth Meadows on 13th May as Britain’s only nature reserve managed primarily for dragonflies.
‘Reserve Manager Mark Prina has been inspecting our ash trees at Foxearth Meadows,’ said Conservation Director Andy Lester. ‘A disease sweeping the UK – ash die back – appears to have arrived at the reserve.
‘Many ash trees show signs of the fungus. But where one species suffers, another appears to benefit. Mark has spotted scarring on some young trees. That’s where a new species of dragonfly to the UK – the Willow Emerald – has laid its eggs.’
There are at least five separate trees where this species has decided to lay. Part of the damselfly subgroup, Willow Emerald arrived in the UK only a decade ago, but have chosen Foxearth Meadows as one of their breeding grounds.
CIRCLE OF LIFE
‘It’s quite normal to want to tidy up a place,’ said Andy, ‘especially when you see species like ash struggling. But as is so often the case in nature, from death can come new life. It’s part of the circle of life!’
Foxearth Meadows’ official opening will run from 12–4pm, including – quiz trail, pond dipping, aquacam, guided walks, wild art workshop – even model dragonfly making. Organisations to be represented include the British Dragonfly Society – with more to be confirmed. (Pictured are Willow Emerald damselflies laying eggs in tandem. Photo: Mark Prina)