New free OS background maps for premium users

posted on July 2, 2019

From today, myForest Premium users will have access to new OS mapping background where both online viewing and printing is free.

As part of their Open MasterMap Implementation Programme, the Ordnance Survey have recently launched a new product called OS Open Zoomstack which makes OS Open Data more accessible. We are pleased to be able to pass on this new functionality to our myForest Premium users.

The background maps displayed through Zoomstack are not as detailed as those available through the paid service, but may be sufficient in many situations to help woodland owners and agents manage their woodland (see comparison maps below).

OS Zoomstack - available through myForest Premium with no additional fees

OS Zoomstack – available through myForest Premium with no additional fees

OS Vector Map Local - available through myForest Premium with an additional fee

OS Vector Map Local – available through myForest Premium with an additional fee

Ordnance Survey licensed mapping

Sylva are working closely with OS to make sure we can offer the best and most efficient maps to the myForest community. We will let you know about the benefits of the Open MasterMap Implementation Programme and what it will mean for myForest later in the year.

Read more about myForest Premium

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Rural Development Programme in England open for new applications

posted on December 7, 2016

Elements of the Rural Development Programme in England are beginning to re-open to new applications. These are LEADER and the Countryside Productivity Scheme (CPS).

Having been under the same level of uncertainty as other EU-funded rural development schemes, the message from the UK government is that these funding pots will reopen and stay up to the point the UK leaves the EU.

LEADER groups across England have Local Development Strategies which set out the priorities for allocating LEADER funding, whereas CPS is a national scheme. Both schemes, in most cases, have forestry and timber-related activity identified as an area for investment. You’ll need to check to see if you fall within a LEADER area and ensure you project is eligible however, expert help is at hand.

Forestry Advisory Consortium for England

Forestry Advisory Consortium

The Forest Advisory Consortium (FACE), of which Sylva Foundation is a member, is a partnership of organisations providing expertise in accessing funding programmes.  FACE has been supporting forestry and other rural businesses to successfully access LEADER, CPS and other government funding for a number of years. Examples of projects include mobile sawmilling, seasoning and storage of sawn products, woodfuel production and storage, specialist harvesting, and extraction machinery.

If you have a forestry or rural business and an investment in mind but are not sure if it might be eligible for Rural Development support, get in touch with your local FACE partner to see how they can help. The contact details of all the regional partners can be found at the FACE website. You can also e-mail or tweet to @forestryace.

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myForest Development Christmas Appeal

posted on November 29, 2016

Help us help Britain’s woodland by supporting our myForest development project. Thanks to the support of the Dulverton Trust, any donation made via the Big Give between 29th November – 2nd December will be doubled! You can read more about the Appeal on the Big Give website or go straight to the donate page.

myForest development Christmas appeal with the Big Give

myForest development Christmas appeal with the Big Give

Healthy woodland improves the environment. It cleans our air, supports wildlife, creates fertile soil, helps relieve flooding and provides space for learning, employment and relaxation.

The myForest planning tool was developed as a free, online resource for woodland owners, managers and agents to help and encourage them to map and plan to manage their woodland sustainably. myForest is used currently by more than 4,700 owners nationwide to map and manage almost 60,000ha of woodlands across Britain. Next year we want to develop new tools to make myForest even more effective and encourage more owners to use it.

Thank you for your support.


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Forest Research in search for Open-Grown Trees

posted on August 12, 2016

Why are Forest Research looking for your help?

Forest Research are developing a model to predict growth in individual trees in mixed species and/or mixed age stands.  The work aims to create tools to use in the management of Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF).

As part of this process the model needs to be constrained by setting the upper limit for the predicted maximum growth of individual trees. For this we need to collect data from a sample of open grown trees i.e. trees that have grown free from competition and have therefore reached their full potential in terms of diameter and crown development.  If you think you know of an open-grown tree or trees, then you may be able to help us with our research.

What locations and species do we want to sample?

We are looking to select trees from across the whole of Great Britain, to represent different geographical and age ranges.  We are particularly keen to get data on the following list:

  • Douglas fir
  • Scots pine
  • oak (pedunculate/sessile/hybrid)
  • Sitka spruce (above 40cm dbh)
  • Western hemlock

Additional species to be assessed, if present at the same (or close) location as the five listed above, are: beech, birch, Grand fir, Norway spruce and sycamore.

How do we define ‘Open-Grown Trees’?

Trees that have grown free from inter-tree competition throughout their entire life. They can be selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Ideally a crown free of competition by shading on all sides, throughout its life. In practice, trees with up to a maximum of 25% shading and those subjected to competition for a limited period of time at young age could also be accepted (any deviation from the ideal case should be recorded)
  2. Branches extending as low as possible. For some species it could be to the ground (or nearly so), for others allowance should be made for the natural receding of lower branches (e.g. Scots pine or oak)
  3. No forking for the entire length of the tree (this is below the spring of crown in broadleaves)
  4. No evidence of pruning, shearing, browsing, decay, storm or insect damage

What measurements will be taken?

We would like to make an assessment of each suitable open ground tree identified.  This will include measurement of diameter at breast height, total height, height of the live crown and crown width.  We will ensure that any necessary permissions are granted prior to us undertaking any assessment.

If you think you can help please contact Ian Craig  or

Catia Arcangeli

If you would like to know more about our research on the modelling of mixed-age and mixed species stands please visit

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Do you have a suitable site for the Future Trees Trust?

posted on September 22, 2015

The Sycamore Group of the Future Trees Trust are looking for two 1ha sites in the UK (northern England and southern England) to establish progeny trials of sycamore.  The trees have been raised in Ireland with seed from a qualified seed orchard.  This seed orchard is comprised of plus trees selected from across the UK and Ireland.  Trees are 2 year old cell grown, from 35 clones.

They are looking to plant the trial this winter at well drained sites suitable for growing sycamore, and will provide a planting plan and trees free of charge.  After 15 years of testing, the progeny trial can be rogued to provide the owner with a tested seed orchard of the highest quality.

Please contact Gerry Douglas for further details and to arrange a site visit –
Phone: Direct line +35318459006 (Kinsealy) or +3531 8059779 (Ashtown)



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Woodland improvement grant scheme extended

posted on May 30, 2014

The Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant (WIG) has been extended and is open for applications – but only until the end of September this year. So, if you have any roads schemes in mind you should get your applications in as soon as possible.

The Woodfuel WIG funds access projects which will enable the sustainable extraction of timber from woodland where it is currently inaccessible. It can also pay for professional support measuring and marketing timber from under-managed compartments.

The current grant covers up to 60% of the cost of work and can be used to fund development on every type of forest road, from quad bike tracks to haul roads for 44 tonne timber wagons, and everything in between. Funded work could include the installation of new roads, loading bays or entrance gates, or repairs to faults along access routes, such as damaged bridges and drainage repair.

The timescale for the application process is as follows:

  • End of September 2014 – All grant applications must be submitted
  • End of December 2014 – Contracts must be signed
  • End of September 2015 – All work must be completed and claimed for

Previous grants handed out include £9,600 to improve access roads to a woodland area; £7,500 for the construction of long haul extraction tracks, loading bays and bridge repairs; and £50,000 for the creation of access tracks to a previously unmanageable area of land.

Click here to read about these and other grants awarded by the Woodfuel WIG scheme.

To find out more about getting a Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant, contact Mike Furness on 01494 568970 or

The grant is delivered by Ngage Solutions across the South East, South West and the county of Cumbria, on behalf of The Forestry Commission.

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Partnership launched between three forestry organisations

posted on April 16, 2014

Three major organisations serving public interests in forestry, have come together forming a powerful partnership to foster sustainable forest management in Britain. The Royal Forestry Society, Small Woods Association and the Sylva Foundation will be working together to support woodland owners in caring for their woodlands.

The majority (72%) of all forested land in the UK is owned and managed by private woodland owners. Ensuring that our woodlands are resilient to future challenges ‒ including pests, pathogens, and climate change ‒ while also being capable of supporting biodiversity and producing timber, requires the active engagement and support of owners. In England alone, around 47% of woodlands are considered either un‐managed or under‐managed. Bringing these woodlands back into good condition through sustainable woodland management will be integral to growing a new ‘wood culture’, providing more jobs in the forestry sector, improving woodland habitats for nature and creating more places for people to exercise and enjoy the countryside.

The partnership reflects the different specialisms and interests of the three partner organisations. The Royal Forestry Society and Small Woods Association are both membership organisations; together supporting over 6000 woodland owners. The Sylva Foundation does not offer a membership but runs the myForest Service – a free web-based platform offering mapping and management tools for woodland owners and managers:

From today, existing and new users of the myForest Service will be eligible to join the Royal Forestry Society and the Small Woods Association at a discounted rate. The offers are open to anyone who has signed up to the myForest Service, providing that they have not recently been a member of the organisation they wish to join. Full details about the offers are available via the myForest website:


Left to right: Gabriel Hemery (Sylva), Alistair Yeomans (Sylva), Simon Lloyd (RFS), Mike Bentley (Small Woods) and Paul Orsi (Sylva) celebrate the formation of the partnership.

Left to right: Gabriel Hemery (Sylva), Alistair Yeomans (Sylva), Simon Lloyd (RFS), Mike Bentley (Small Woods) and Paul Orsi (Sylva) celebrate the formation of the partnership.

Dr Gabriel Hemery, chief executive of Sylva, said “It is a significant step for Britain’s woodlands, and for those that care for them, that our organisations are able to work together in this way for the first time. By collaborating we are able to bring together the management tools of myForest with the benefits of two great membership organisations.”

Simon Lloyd, director of the RFS said “We are delighted to be teaming up with Sylva Foundation to be able to offer those new to woodland management the opportunity to combine the benefits of myForest’s online management planning tools with the opportunity visit woodlands and learn about all aspects of woodland management from the experiences of a network of 3,500 RFS members. We believe well managed woods which produce sustainable quantities of quality timber, wood fuel and other products are better for nature conservation, better for people and better for the economy.”

Mike Bentley, chief executive of the Small Woods Association said “We warmly welcome the chance to team up with Sylva and the RFS in this joint effort to help more people manage their woodlands. Sylva’s free woodland mapping and planning tool is already being used by some of our members to great effect and we are keen to offer our unique range of membership benefits to all other users of myForest. Small Woods are a friendly and approachable membership organisation offering support and advice to owners, practitioners and enthusiasts with different backgrounds, objectives and levels of experience. I am sure many myForest users will find us as their natural home and this is why we are very happy to offer them an introductory membership discount.”

Read more about the membership offer

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Major updates to the myForest service

posted on February 15, 2014

We’re pleased to announce the launch of two major updates to the myForest service. The new management planning template that links with Forestry Commission England is now live, and we have completely updated the mapping tools to create a simple yet fully functional online GIS.

New Management Planning template and mapping composer

Forestry Commission England (FCE) recently updated the template that it provides to support the creation of management plans as part of the Woodland Planning Grant.  FCE did this to:

  • create a more user-friendly template
  • create a template that allows the creation of a management plan that is compliant with the UK Forestry Standard
  • provide the woodland owner with felling permissions for 10 years as part of the management plan.
  • comply with new regulations including EU Timber Regulations.

We have ensured that users that have already created, or are in the process of creating, a management plan can still access and use the old template (FCE will accept the old template until the end of June 2014).  However, if you create a new management plan you will now be taken to the new template.


New Mapping Composer

“A picture can tell a thousand words” and it is no different for management plans and maps, which are an important part of planning for the longterm care of a forest.  For this reason we have also launched a new mapping composer within myForest.  The mapping composer is a simple Geographical Information System (GIS), allowing you to add layers and labels to a map which can be printed off or saved on your computer, and saved as in pdf format.

The maps generated can be used to provide your felling permissions as part of a management plan or to support an application for a standalone felling licence.


myForest mapping composer

An example Operations map produced using the new mapping composer in myForest

We hope that you like the changes we have made to the myForest service.  Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have a query about these changes or other aspects to the service.

 Paul Orsi, Richard Pigott and Alistair Yeomans

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ICF Announces £400,000 Skills Boost for English Forestry Sector

posted on September 12, 2013

The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) has announced that it has secured a £400,000 funding package from the Government through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP).

Set up in 2011, the EOP is a competitive fund open to employers, to invest in their current and future workforce in England. Its aim is to raise skills, create jobs, and drive enterprise and economic growth.

In what is considered a major industry coup, the ICF’s successful bid will enable new approaches to growth for England’s forestry sector and support business-led groups to deliver training and development in an innovative manner that employers may not otherwise be able to access or afford. The project will be open to all in the sector, not just ICF members.

To read more visit

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New eWGS grant timescales announced

posted on July 25, 2013

Forestry Commission England has just announced timescales for applying for and receiving grant funding under the current eWGS system.  These timescales have been brought about because of  transition from the previous Rural Development Programme (RDP) to the next RDP.  The RDP is the vehicle the government use to spend EU money to support the rural economy.

The link below takes you to the document sent out by the Forestry Commission and explains in detail these arrangements.  Although they are not all definite at this stage, owners and managers should be aware of the critical dates involved and how this may affect your plans and operations.

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