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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Woodlands and Forests

Lets hope that all are relevant nature conservation organisations keep up their pressure on the Government because without clear pressure we will see woodlands being neglected or allowed to wither under the pressure of commercial timber production.  Here are two statements which might help.

The Woodland Trust commented in July  on Government thinking about Forests.

04 Jul 2012 08:12

"England's forests... SAFE! Woodland Trust reaction to Independent Panel on Forestry final report

Woodland Trust reaction to Independent Panel on Forestry's final report, published today
Hilary Allison, Woodland Trust Policy Director said:
"Following the publication of the Independent Panel on Forestry's final report today, we are delighted that Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has confirmed that the public forest estate is safe. It is vital that the Government now works towards ensuring the estate is effectively resourced and developed to deliver more benefits for more people."

They went on to say:

Hilary continued: "In its report, the Panel has clearly documented the enormous potential of forests, woods and trees. It has presented a series of ambitious and positive recommendations to drive England's woodland policy forward, including a challenging target for tree planting to ensure new woods are created for people and wildlife.
However, there is still work to be done and issues on which the Woodland Trust urges the Government to go further. It is important to reiterate the need to restore and protect the ancient woodland we already have.
The Government must show leadership and take forestry seriously, focusing on creating the right framework to ensure our woodland resource is expanded, protected, restored and used to deliver the many and varied benefits it is so clearly capable of.
The Woodland Trust will actively engage with the Government and will also work alongside other organisations to ensure a plan for the sustainable management of our forests is delivered as soon as possible."

and the Somerset Wildlife Trust said before publication of the report:

"Ahead of the publication of the Independent Panel on Forestry’s final report on the future of forestry in England (4 July), Somerset Wildlife Trust sets out seven criteria it wants to see included to ensure nature’s recovery is secured.

Simon Nash, CEO, Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: 

“We will judge the Panel’s report against our ‘criteria for success’.  We want to see integration, better protection, reconnection and restoration of woodlands and a new remit for the Forestry Commission. 
“There should be a Public Forest Estate with a new purpose, focused on nature, people’s connection to nature and the delivery of other public benefits. 
“We intend to engage with the Government to ensure any positive recommendations are acted upon, and to strengthen those which may not go far enough for wildlife.”

Somerset Wildlife Trust’s seven criteria

1. A new remit for the Forestry Commission
Somerset Wildlife Trust wants to see a shift in the Forestry Commission so that its primary focus is on nature and the provision of other public benefits.  The Public Forest Estate should be an exemplar of sustainable management.  This will require a change in the Forestry Commission’s statutory remit. 
2. Integration
Forestry should be part of a coherent strategy for the natural environment: woods being one part of a resilient ecological network.  Forestry policy and grants should be integrated with other land use and management policies and incentives.
3. Better protection
We want to see better protection for existing woods, especially ancient woodlands.
4. Reconnection of people with the natural environment
People’s access to the Public Forest Estate (PFE) should be protected.  Government should also create more opportunities for people to enjoy and be inspired by woodlands and forests outside the Public Forest Estate.
5. Reconnection of woodlands at a landscape-scale
Natural regeneration and tree planting should be encouraged to buffer, extend and link existing woodlands.  In all cases, a ‘right tree in the right place’ principle should be adopted.
6. Restoration of existing woodlands
Existing woodlands that could be richer in wildlife should be brought to life by appropriate, sustainable woodland management.  This can increase habitat quality and help to reverse declines in woodland wildlife.
7. Restoration of open habitats under plantation forestry
Areas of lowland heathland, meadow and other internationally important open habitats planted with conifers must be restored with urgency. 
Simon Nash added:  “The Public Forest Estate represents the single biggest opportunity to implement the recommendations made in last year’s Natural Environment White Paper, including the Lawton Review.  It is critical that this opportunity is taken.”"