“Never before heard by humans” / Alice Boyd’s ‘From The Understory’ single

Artists from 'Separation.' Photo by Kanahaya Alam.

“Never before heard by humans” / Alice Boyd’s ‘From The Understory’ single ‘Separation’ deftly mixes plant electrode data with a compelling musical current. ‘Separation’ features vocals from XATIVA, Dazey, Emily Izen Row, Alice Boyd, Issa, and zha. Photo by Kanahaya Alam. Jay Richardson 24 February 2023 In late 2022, at an overgrown farm pond in […]

Sounds like a book

A microphone points to the inside of a copy of David George Haskell's 'Sounds Wild and Broken'.

BOOK REVIEWS Sounds like a book David George Haskell’s Sounds Wild and Broken (2022) seeks to establish sound as a new vital sign for the environment. It takes on more than it bargained for. Grace Field 1 November 2022 ★★★☆☆ As far as we know, for more than nine-tenths of its history, Earth lacked communicative […]

A southern English forest in pictures and sounds

A large drooping cedar drapes its needle-like leaves in a mixture of blue and green shades. Through a gap in the foliage you can see the straight slender trunk.

A southern English forest in sounds and pictures A nettle grows out of the centre of a moss-covered, truncated tree trunk in Micheldever Wood. Jay Richardson 8 August 2022 Trees and forests have aroused strong feelings in Britain for centuries: their trace is scattered through its literary, political, and economic history. Micheldever Wood, pictured here, […]

Marsham Street’s parliament of trees

A London Plane tree stands outside the Home Office on Marsham Street during protests against the government's new asylum policy.

Marsham Street’s parliament of trees Jay Richardson24 April 2022 Plants appear in political scenes all the time: they’re street furniture. Look at a photo of any military parade or protest, for example, and you’ll more than likely see trees in the background.  They also exert political power in the way that they shape the landscape. […]

Cherry blossom, Highbury Fields

Cherry blossom in Highbury Fields

Cherry blossom, Highbury Fields Highbury Fields is Islington’s largest park, since nearby Clissold Park is technically in Hackney. It was bought for a public park in 1885 while various speculators developed the surrounding area into housing. Most of the park’s avenues are lined with London Plane trees. Islington Council is consulting on improvements to Highbury […]

Birch, Clissold Park

Birch tree, Clissold Park

Birches probably appeared amongst the first trees in the UK after the last ice age: they spread quickly and grow well in a wide range of soils, including heathland and moorland. They improve biodiversity when mixed into conifer plantations, which now contribute most new woodland planting in the UK. Birch is particularly common in Scotland, […]

Cherry blossom, Islington

Cherry blossom in Islington

Warmer spring temperatures are shifting blossoms several weeks earlier than they used to be, so they’re already out during late spring frosts and sustain severe damage. Clissold Park’s blossoms were out nearly a month early this year. Losing blossoms to the late spring frost devastates fruit yields, like apricots and cherries, and the pollinating insects […]

Forests go up, forests go down, but mostly down

A lit avenue outside Bethnal Green library

CLIMATE Forests go up, forests go down, but mostly down New woodland is an essential climate mitigation tool. So where is it? Urban UK forestry: a tree-lined avenue outside Bethnal Green Library in central-east London. Jay Richardson 3 April 2022 As climate issues go, woodland management is not sexy. In UK forestry, it’s an achingly […]