Dr Gabriel Hemery co-founded Sylva Foundation with the late Sir Martin Wood in 2009, and has since led the charity as its Chief Executive.In addition to his duties as CEO, Gabriel leads on the charity’s scientific work, and supports colleagues working on forestry projects.
At Sylva Foundation we envisage a wood culture where people understand and promote the good stewardship of woodlands and are mindful of their utility, while being conscious of their fragility.
Future society will recognise the creative and productive value of forest products which can be derived from growing well-managed forests, and at the same time enhance their wider benefits for people and for nature. This will help result in a halt in the loss of biodiversity, a reduction in climate change, and a human society that can sustain itself.
Our actions today will be tangible in the love and respect that future generations afford our trees and forests.
Our mission at Sylva Foundation
To use our forestry knowledge and information technology skills, supported by state-of-art evidence, to provide innovative solutions to some of the greatest environmental challenges facing modern society.
To work extensively and selflessly with others, recognising that collaboration is necessary to overcome the challenges of halting biodiversity loss and reducing climate change, while supporting the transition to a sustainable human society.
To deliver the training and education necessary to support the transformation of society, focussing on the stewardship of our forests and the utility of home-grown timber.
To undertake advocacy to inspire one another, raise awareness, and endow people with knowledge, passion, and the shared ambition for a better and more sustainable society.
Sylva Foundation Reports
Sylva Foundation Annual Reports
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Sylva is an old English word from the Latin silva, meaning a wood, forest, or woodland.
During the reign of Charles II in 1662, John Evelyn was asked by the Royal Society to draw attention to the damage done to England’s wooded estates during the English Interregnum and to encourage reforestation. The resulting paper was entitled: Sylva or a discourse on forest trees and the propagation of timber in His Majesty’s dominions. This led to the publication of his famous book with the same title in 1664, which ran to four editions during his lifetime, and many more afterwards.
In 2006, Sir Martin Wood and Dr Gabriel Hemery founded a project seeking to review the status of Forestry in the UK: Forestry Horizons. The project was founded on the simple beliefs that trees are important, that we should look after them better, and have more of them.
From that work, the idea for a new charity dedicated to reviving Britain’s wood culture was born, which we defined as “the stewardship of woodland and the use of forest produce for a sustainable future.” Sylva Foundation was founded in March 2009.
Staff and Associates
Andrew is a Bangor University Forestry graduate from a farming background with a career spanning over 25 years of public and private sector forestry throughout the UK, ranging from the uplands to the lowlands and everything in between. His experience of grants, regulations and forestry management mean he is well placed to help myForest users make the most of its capabilities, as well as helping with the development of the many other projects in the Sylva pipeline.
Sylva Foundation Impact Reports
Sylva Foundation continues to influence both policy and practice to support sustainable development across the length and breadth of Britain.
Find out how our main initiatives are making an impact today
Sylva Foundation as a Charitable Trust
- promoting and conducting research for the public benefit about effective sustainable forest management and the dissemination of the useful results of such research;
- advancing education for the public benefit in the theory and practice of sustainable forest management;
- supporting the development and application of sustainable forest management for the public benefit;
- advancing education and business enterprise in the design and production of home-grown wood products for the public benefit.
Sylva Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees. They are responsible for the overall strategic direction and oversight of the charity, ensuring regulatory compliance, monitoring and evaluating risks, and approval of the annual budget and audited accounts.
Sylva Foundation is at the heart of a community that encourages the use of home-grown wood by supporting and demonstrating skills, enterprise, collaboration and innovation.
myForest is a flagship project for the Sylva Foundation. Our mission is to use our forestry knowledge and information technology skills, supported by state-of-art evidence, to provide innovative solutions to some of the greatest environmental challenges facing modern society.
Free to all users, myForest is bringing the latest technology to the forestry sector. Whether a small woodland owner, or land agent companies, myForest provides comprehensive online mapping, digital tools and the latest resources not only to sustainably manage forests, but to provide unique support for the creation of new forests around Britain.
In Britain there is an estimated 700,000ha of under-managed woodlands. This has a big impact on our ability to create resilient woodlands, thriving habitats and healthy spaces for people, whilst overcoming threats from climate change, and a growing number of pests and pathogens.
As one of Europe’s least forested countries, the UK needs to fulfil its potential in providing a meaningful contribution towards the country’s timber needs.
NatureBid is an online funding platform offering the latest mapping and auction tools to reduce administration costs for investors in the environment.
NatureBid works collaboratively with funders and engagement partners to ensure a funding platform that best supports everyone’s needs.
NatureBid is flexible and can support different approaches including reverse auctions, single shot auctions, collaborative working across landscapes, or used simply as a powerful engagement tool to allow landowners to propose projects on their land.
Funding is needed to support interventions to help with the biodiversity and climate emergencies. NatureBid has already provided a solution to allow funders to deliver environmental improvements across the country in an innovative and cost effective way.
The Sylva Wood School
Sylva Wood School
Sylva Wood School is bridging the gap between education and practice, and promoting the value of home-grown timber
Sylva Wood School provides an innovative new approach to design and skilled craft in home-grown timber through collaborations with educational institutions, non-profit organisations and commercial partners.
By providing inspiring experiences for students, and innovative opportunities for collaborating partners, the Wood School is highlighting the importance of using home-grown timber and the value of reviving Britain’s wood culture.
Based in the Sylva Wood Centre in South Oxfordshire, the Wood School provides access to a multi-purpose teaching barn and a large workshop with industrial-quality machinery. This allows students, not only to experience working with wood in a stimulating learning environment, but to achieve a professional standard of practice.
Wood School Short Courses:
By providing a programme of accessible short courses covering a wide range of topics and skills, the Wood School is creating inspiring and accessible opportunities to experience working with home-grown timber.
Wood School Courses
The vision for our Professional course is to sensitively combine education and business to create a sheltered workshop experience. Participants will learn in a professionally-equipped workshop by producing commercial projects. Learning will focus on repetition through low volume production rather than working on bespoke projects.
The vision for this programme is to introduce participants to a range of furniture making skills and experiences in a professional workshop. Essential health and safety training is delivered in hand tools, power tools and woodworking machinery. Training will be delivered in small groups by demonstration with the opportunity to practice skills through project work.
We provide a growing range of short courses suitable for all ages and skill levels: Maker sessions enable course participants to learn new skills and take away a beautiful object; Woodwork sessions are designed to hone your skills and techniques; Courses for young people have been developed to inspire and create a great experience.
The Sylva Wood Centre
The Sylva Wood Centre is a 12 hectare site in South Oxfordshire, and is firmly rooted in the local community. We have a community of Wood Centre businesses, the Sylva Wood School, the Future Forest, including a Forest School site, and the House of Wessex.
The Sylva Wood Centre provides the base for advocacy and collaboration
We provide facilities to support business incubation, including start-up units, shared workspaces, and hot-benching facilities.
Our hub is for small businesses and craftspeople who design, innovate or make in wood. Businesses range from furniture making and outdoor structures, to boat-building and upholstery. There is also a small-scale timber yard on the site.
Our well-equipped teaching venue is providing the opportunities to deliver excellence in education and business enterprise.