Robin Hood’s forest of mighty oaks needs saving by the rich–or the poor–or a miracle

With half my roots in Southeastern Kentucky where coal mining has decimated great swatches of mountain tops, I’m easy to hook into environmental stories. Such was the case when I read about Sherwood Forest made famous by Robin Hood’s work of robbing the rich to pay the poor. As you know, that’s where he and his merry men hung out. There really is such a place in Nottinghamshire County, England, although the forest is becoming smaller and the mighty oaks are falling. See, here’s the problem. Oaks only live for 900 years. That’s a lot you might say. Time does fly, and it’s passing.

Since the landscape has been changed to accommodate more people over the centuries, trees have been cut down for buildings and fields to grow food. So, there is less space for the forest to rejuvenate itself. Plus, there’s the effects of global warming. The trees that are left sound like they have osteoporosis or something. A strong wind can knock them down. The solution is a reforestation project which costs money. Sherwood Forest is in the running for some grant money to plant thousands more. Here’s the thing where I see it might take some convincing of folks that this money will make a more wonderous world for their great, great, great, great, great, (surely that’s enough greats) grandchildren is that it takes 300 years for an oak to grow to its massive size. That’s a bit of delayed gratification for you. “I paid what for that dinky thing?”

Kate Shuman’s AP article where I found out about this forest woe is accompanied by some wonderful photos of movie scenes that have helped make Sherwood Forest famous.