Sep 15, 2021
What happens in the forest in autumn?
Autumn is a time of change for animal and plant life, but it’s also great for forest activities and the start of planting season for our forestry team.
Autumn is a time of change and a chance to explore everything new in your local forest. As the days get shorter and the temperature cools, there’s nothing quite like spending a few woodland hours with family and friends.
In this post, we share a little of what happens in the forest when autumn arrives, some activity suggestions for you to try, and a few of the tasks the changing season brings for the EcoTree team.
Why leaves change colour
Let’s start with the most obvious change in the forest as the cooler weather arrives with the start of autumn. The leaves on the trees change from green to a spectacular display of yellows, oranges and reds that give the forest an entirely different colour palette.
When the leaves are green during the summer months, the leaves are green and their chlorophyll is working hard to absorb energy from the sun. That chlorophyll transforms carbon dioxide and water into the sugars that feed the tree. When autumn comes and there is less sunlight, the chlorophyll breaks down to reveal stunning yellow and orange colour pigments underneath.
If the summer brings warm, dry weather with lots of sunlight, the leaves can even turn a beautiful shade of red. It’s this incredible colour mixture that makes the forest such a beautiful place to be at this time of year.
How forest animals adapt to autumn
It’s not just tree and plant life that changes in autumn. The new season also sees a range of animal and birdlife adapt to the cooler climate and different habitat. In the UK, autumn is when birds migrate to the country’s wetlands, countryside, or to enjoy the milder winter.
Of course, it’s the time of year when those animals that hibernate get ready for their big sleep over the coldest months. You may find hedgehogs, mice, bats and some reptiles on the lookout for somewhere to shelter. Autumn is a chance to stock up on fat reserves and find the perfect place for hibernation.
For the forest’s hoarders, the change of season provides an opportunity to start collecting. Squirrels, magpies and other bird species will find and bury nuts that they can return to and eat when food is less available over winter. Naturally, many of those acorns and nuts never get eaten and instead grow and become part of the ecosystem again in spring.
Autumn forest activities
Autumn is clearly a busy time for the natural world and that means we humans get to observe all the action. It’s an excellent time to season for you to get your boots and warm clothes on and head into the trees.
Perhaps the most obvious way to enjoy the forest is by taking a nice walk with family or friends. Many forests have dedicated routes that you can take and you can usually find a map or regular signposts. Plan ahead to make sure your walk is just the right amount of physical challenge for your group.
While you’re there, this is the ideal time to do some bird watching and animal spotting. Look out for hides that allow you to observe without disturbing any of the local wildlife. And don’t forget to take along a pen and some paper to make a note of all the things you see on your trip.
Children love spending time in the forest too, of course. From den building to cone collecting and even some good old-fashioned leaf stomping, there is plenty for them to do and enjoy on a day in the trees. Just wrap them up in warm clothes and encourage them to safely explore the forest world.
Planting season begins
Autumn is an exceptionally busy time of year for everyone here at EcoTree, as it marks the beginning of planting season. This year, we aim to plant tens of thousands of trees in EcoTree forests and though planting starts in November, there is plenty of work we need to do to get ready.
Before any trees make it into the ground, we need to analyse and define planting patterns in each forest. What kind of soil are we working with? How might the local climate affect the trees? We need to answer these important questions then prepare the plants in our nurseries.
Once planting begins, our team is hard at it all the way through autumn, winter and into spring. For example, we plant in Malicorne sur Sarthe, our forest near Le Mans, in November, but in Brittany we wait until the end of planting season.
Planting so many trees is a long process, but it’s one we take seriously to make sure our forests continue to grow and thrive. It helps that they are on good land chosen by our team for its excellent planting conditions!
Trees are very much our bag at EcoTree, but we also work on a number of other initiatives that support and protect the environment. Our work to improve biodiversity includes agroforestry, bee plantations and wetland projects.
There are many biodiversity projects in progress across Europe with plenty more launching over the coming months, which will see us:
- install honey and fruit hedges
- maintain and improve a menhir (standing stone)
- create new educational trails
- install nesting boxes for birds
- monitor bird and bat populations
Biodiversity is so important to our planet and our work in this area is an increasing part of what we do at EcoTree. Learn more about how you (or your company) can get behind our biodiversity projects.
Go explore the forest
So that’s just a taste of what we’re doing this autumn. What about you?
We can recommend a trip to your nearest woodland to see the spectacular seasonal changes in action. Get your boots on and enjoy the many colours of the forest before the leaves start to fall and winter takes hold. And don’t forget to share your photos with us through Instagram.
Become a tree owner
Ever thought you might like to own a tree yourself? You can do exactly that through EcoTree. Our unique approach to forestry means anyone – including you! – can become a tree owner in just a few clicks or taps. Just get in touch if you want to know more or have any questions.