Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards open for entries

posted on November 17, 2015

This year the Sylva Foundation is delighted to be a supporter of Scotland’s Finest Woods Award. The award chimes perfectly with the recent expansion of the support we offer to Scottish woodland owners through the myForest service – read more.

Scotlands Finest Woods AwardThe Scotland’s Finest Woods Award 2016 is now open for entries! For more information and to apply visit their website at:

Entries to all four categories are encouraged and there is one for all aspects of the very best standards of woodland management across Scotland including:

  • quality timber at whole estate or compartment/stand/small wood scales;
  • new woodlands both native and commercial;
  • community woodlands; and
  • schools and pre-schools projects related to trees, woodlands or forests.

Angela Douglas Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, said:

“We, at Scotland’s Finest Woods, want to recognise the very best of Scotland woods, their management and all they can offer.”

In 2016 there is nearly £7,000 of prize money and striking trophies for winners. Do you have a wood you are involved with, own or manage that you consider could be one of the finest in Scotland? If so, don’t delay apply today! Simply complete a short entry form with basic location, contact details and state in no more than 500 words why you think your entry would make a worthy winner of the particular prestigious award.

Entries are encouraged before the year ends on 31st December 2015. Please submit as early as possible, ideally before Christmas 2015.  Any entries received after 31st March 2016 will not be considered. The closing date for next year (the 2017 Awards) onwards will change to end December at the very latest annually, except for Schools that will remain with a 31st March deadline.

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Managing Atlantic woodland for lichens and bryophytes: free workshops for land managers

posted on November 16, 2015

Sylva is pleased to promote an important new project that will provide support for owners of Atlantic woodland.

The Atlantic woodlands of south-west England are internationally important for their lichens and bryophytes. However, these often-overlooked lower plant communities face a range of threats from habitat loss and climate change, to impacts from management practices and invasive species. Plantlife’s Make the Small Things Count Project has produced a Habitat Toolkit to provide practical management advice. These one day workshops will be hands-on, practical sessions to launch the toolkit and support land managers to:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of Atlantic woodland ecology and the requirements of lichens and bryophytes;
  • Identify priority areas for management;
  • Identify what management is appropriate in different scenarios;
  • Monitor lichens and bryophytes and assess the impacts of management.

All participants will receive a copy of the toolkit as well as Plantlife’s ID guides for key lichens and bryophytes.

Lobaria pulmonaria (c) Ray Woods-Plantlife

Lobaria pulmonaria in an Atlantic woodland. (c) Ray Woods, Plantlife


Workshop dates:

  • Tuesday 19th January 10am-3pm at Yarner Wood, East Dartmoor NNR TQ13 9LJ
  • Thursday 28th January 10am-3pm at Holford Village Hall, Quantocks AONB TA5 1SD
  • Thursday 4th February 10am-3pm at Piles Mill, Exmoor National Park TA24 8HP
  • Wednesday 10th February 10am-3pm at Burrator Discovery Centre PL20 6PE

Booking essential. Register online here at:

There is a limit of 15 people per workshop. You only need to attend one session. Please book early to avoid disappointment. For further information contact:

In January 2016 a web-link to the toolkit will be created in the myForest resources section.

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New myForest services launched in Scotland

posted on September 30, 2015

Forestry Commission Scotland, Royal Scottish Forestry Society and the Sylva Foundation have come together to help foster sustainable forest management in Scotland.

Forestry Commission Scotland, Royal Scottish Forestry Society, and Sylva Foundation's myForest service

The partners

From today a suite of dedicated forest management tools are available to support woodland owners and managers in Scotland via the Sylva Foundation’s myForest service.  Forestry Commission Scotland have made available their new management planning template which is now embedded into myForest, while the Royal Scottish Forestry Society are offering discounted membership for myForest users.

myForest is an existing online platform for woodland owners and managers which aims to support sustainable forest management.  This free service now includes Forestry Commission Scotland’s new management planning template, which can be used for woodlands under 100ha.

myForest provides three applications to help woodland owners:

  1. Woodland Manager: allows owners to produce maps, store information and produce management plans.
  2. Business Directory: allows owners to easily link to other businesses in the forestry sector.
  3. Woodland Star Rating: a self-evaluation tool to measure how woodland management activities match up to the United Kingdom Forestry Standard.
Screen shot of myForest Woodland Manager

Screen shot of the myForest Woodland Manager

Chris Stark, Forestry Commission Scotland’s SRDP Technical Support Officer said:

“A management plan is the basis of good woodland stewardship and management plans are a requirement to allow woodland owners to access grant funding under the new Forestry Grant Scheme. We recognise that many of Scotland’s forests are managed by professional agents due to their size or complexity, but we are hoping that myForest will encourage and support more woodland owners to bring their woodlands into active management.”

Also from today, both existing and new users of the myForest Service will be eligible to join the Royal Scottish Forestry Society at a discounted rate. The offer is open to anyone who has signed up to the myForest Service providing that they have not recently been a member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society. Full details about the offers are available via the myForest website:

James Hepburne Scott, Royal Scottish Forestry Society Vice-President, said:

“The Society is delighted to be able to partner with the Sylva Foundation and Forestry Commission Scotland to provide access, for present and new members, to the woodland management support systems developed by the Sylva Foundation and enjoyed by many woodland owners South of the border.”

Paul Orsi, the Sylva Foundation’s Director for Forestry said:

“myForest already supports some 3000 woodland owners across Britain but until today we were unable to provide services specifically designed to support Scottish woodland owners and managers.  As the Sylva Foundation does not have members we are delighted to be working with RSFS who provide membership support.  As a charity registered in Scotland these developments are important steps forward in our work supporting good woodland management.”


Notes for Editors:

Sylva Foundation is a charity working across Britain caring for forests, to ensure they thrive for people and for nature, and supporting innovation in home-grown wood.  The myForest service is a project of the Sylva Foundation.  Contact: Paul Orsi, Director of Forestry

Forestry Commission Scotland advises and implements forestry policy to protect and expand Scotland’s forests and to increase their value to society and the environment. Contact: Chris Stark SRDP Technical Support Officer

The Royal Scottish Forestry Society (incorporating the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society) was founded in 1854. It is devoted to the advancement of forestry and arboriculture in all its branches.  Its members come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, welcoming both professionals and amateurs. Contact: Alistair Harding, Director

Category: FORESTRY, myForest
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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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myForest supports three thousand woodland stewards

posted on August 28, 2015
myForest mapped woodlands, August 2015

myForest mapped woodlands, August 2015. Click to view live stats.

More than 3000 people are using online tools provided by the myForest service to help bring woodlands into good economic and environmental condition across the UK.

The three thousandth user is a major milestone for the service that was launched in 2010. Since then there has been steady uptake of these tools by woodland stewards, as indicated with some 38,000 hectares (86,000 acres) of woodland mapped.

This is a significant area yet, in relation to the total area of UK woodlands that are owned privately1, it equates to under 2% of the total.

There is evidently much more to be done to support the stewards of woodlands, right across the UK. There are also nations and regions where uptake of myForest has been less evident.

Working in partnership with others the myForest team are developing some exciting plans and activities to bring the benefits of the myForest service to more areas of the UK. Interest from new partners and supporters is always welcomed.

1.  Privately-owned woodlands represent 72% of UK forest area or 2,268,000 ha. Forestry Commission Statistics, 2014.

Live Statistics

You can view live stats for the myForest service at any time: click here

myForest area August 2015

Area of woodland registered on myForest, August 2015





Category: FORESTRY, myForest

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What do you think about environmental change, and what are you doing about it?

posted on July 31, 2015

A national survey is launched today aiming is to help understand progress in awareness and actions in adapting to environmental change among woodland owners and managers (including agents), tree nursery businesses, and forestry professionals.

A Wordle from the 2015 Resilience Accord

A Wordle from the text of the 2015 Resilience Accord

Environmental change may mean any change or disturbance of the environment caused by human influences and/or natural ecological processes. As such the survey will be exploring climate change, pests, pathogens, flooding, wind and fire, and will be seeking to explore how resilient our forests are to change. The information gathered will be used by organisations, policy makers and researchers to help improve the resilience of the nation’s forests. The results will inform the government’s National Adaptation Programme.

The survey is part of a wider suite of activities related to resilience including the drafting of an Accord, which is a call from across the forestry sector for action to be taken to ensure our trees, woods and forests are more resilient. Organisations with an interest in trees, forestry and landowners have also produced ‘Adaptation in Action’ statements, to explain their individual views on issues and the actions they are taking to improve resilience.

The British Woodlands Survey 2015 on Resilience is supported by a very wide number of partners, with funding provided by the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust. It is hosted and co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation.

British Woodlands Survey 2015

Read more and Take the Survey

Take the survey and read more about the resilience activities at The survey remains open until end of August.


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Good Woods delivers in Cumbria

posted on June 24, 2015

Last weekend the Good Woods team headed to Cumbria to deliver training and advice to local woodlands owners from the Grange and Meathop Woodlanders Group.

In 2013 the Good Woods project delivered support to 235 land owners to help create a clear vision for the sustainable management of 10,900 hectares of woodland in the south east and east of England. With support from Defra, B&Q and the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust we have been able to join forces with Cumbria Woodlands and expand the impact of the project to the North of England. Since spring 2014 we have carried out advisory visits via professional foresters to 47 forest holdings across Cumbria.

Reading your woodland - training with Cumbria Woodlands

Reading your woodland – training with Cumbria Woodlands

Using a clinometer to measure tree height

Using a clinometer to measure tree height

Last weekend the Good Woods team headed to Cumbria to deliver training and advice to local woodlands owners from the Grange and Meathop Woodlanders Group. The morning session covered the basics of woodland management and a guide to using myForest. Presentations also covered how to realise the productive potential of your woodland, advice on engaging with stakeholders and an update on forestry grants and support. The afternoon workshop looked at resilient woodlands (protecting your habitat against pests, diseases and climate change) and took the participants out into a woodland to see how all of this works in practice!

Ruth and Steve, the owners of a mixed semi-ancient woodland in south Cumbria found the workshop very valuable and commented that it was:

“…thought provoking, practical and very relevant for us. Friendly, informal and knowledgeable presentations with some brilliant links and advice.”

By engaging with private and community woodland owners and managers, Good Woods is helping to create a productive and sustainable vision for UK woodlands. This not only helps to reverse the alarming decline in woodland plants, butterflies and bird numbers but also boosts the productivity and profitability of our woodlands, their ecosystem service delivery and goes some way to achieving the government’s ambition to bring two thirds of our woodlands back into active management by 2018.

Good Woods is a partnership between Sylva Foundation, sustainability charity Bioregional and the business community.

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Video guidance for myForest

posted on May 19, 2015
Video help on myForest

Video help on myForest

Following on from the launch of myForest v3.0, we have launched video guidance on how to use the various myForest applications and features.

Feedback from users has been that the online help for myForest could be improved.  We have worked hard to make Version 3.0 more intuitive, as well as providing context-sensitive hints and tips, plus a more in-depth Help section.

The six videos that are now live on the site take users step-by-step through the functionality of the Woodland Manager (the main myForest application).  You can find these videos embedded within the Help section of the Woodland Manager and in their own page under the ‘More’ tab.

We hope you find the guidance videos useful.  We will be adding more videos over the coming months. Please let us know if you think we could provide a video to help with a particular feature not already covered.

These videos are directed at users with Woodland Owners or Agent accounts.  Video guidance for those using the myForest for Education account will be available soon.

Category: FORESTRY, myForest
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myForest for Education – a national first for forest education

posted on May 6, 2015

myForest for EducationWe are excited to announce the launch of myForest for Education: the UK’s first woodland management planning application designed specifically for education.

myForest for Education has been developed as a new feature in the recently-launched myForest version 3.0. In designing and building myForest for Education, we consulted closely with more than 100 Forest School Leaders, environmental educators and teachers who participated in early trials and contributed ideas.

The outcome is myForest for Education – an easy-to-use and free online application that enables any educator, or young person, to generate straightforward woodland management plans, maps and ecological impact assessments for woodland sites and school grounds.

myForest education

A screenshot from the myForest for Education application. The smallest of features can be mapped and described. A management plan can then be created for your site.


Key Features:

  • Forest School Leaders undertaking Level 3 training users can produce a Forest School site management plan and ecological impact assessment.
  • Educators using any school grounds, woodland site or other outdoor space in the UK can create printable maps with features and labels.
  • Responsive design, which means it fits the size of the screen you are using, making it easy to use with tablets and laptops.
  • Guidance throughout using ‘context-sensitive’ help.

Sylva Foundation’s Education Manager Jen Hurst said,

“​myForest for Education creates a bridge between the worlds of forestry and education, and it will increase engagement of educators and young people in real life sustainable forest management”.

myForest for Education training workshops are currently being planned at several locations across the UK. They will be targeted at Forest School Leaders, environmental educators or teachers interested learning more about the power of myForest for Education. More information will be posted here soon.


We are grateful to our partners the Oxfordshire Forest School Service, based at Hill End Centre near Oxford, and the national Forest School Association for their input and for providing opportunities to run consultation and training workshops with educators.

Find out more myForest for Education

You can also email Jen Hurst for more information

Patsy Wood Trust

Funded by the Patsy Wood Trust

We are indebted to the Patsy Wood Trust for supporting the appointment of Sylva’s Education Manager, and the development of the myForest for Education application.


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Major new version of myForest launched

posted on April 24, 2015

A major new version of myForest has been launched by the Sylva Foundation. Version 3.0 of myForest is more streamlined, easier to use and packed with new features.

Existing myForest users can log in as normal and find all their usual account information, saved maps and management plans. New users will find the site intuitive with ‘context-sensitive’ help throughout.

About myForest

myForest serviceThe myForest service was developed by the Sylva Foundation as an online platform to support sustainable forest management by woodland owners and managers (including agents) – because the majority (72%) of woodlands in Britain are in private hands and about half of these are thought to be under- or un-managed.

The service is used currently by 2,500 people to map and manage more than 35,000ha of woodlands across Britain. It is provided as a free service, although donations from users are always gratefully received.

The Sylva team have worked closely with Forestry Commission England to ensure compliance for myForest users with the regulatory framework, and are discussing the same with Forestry Commission Scotland. Also in place is a formal partnership with the Royal Forestry Society and Small Woods Association to promote the myForest service to members.

Why the new version?

Since myForest was launched in 2009, technology has moved forward rapidly so the very latest in online software developments are reflected in the new version. In addition Sylva has taken account of feedback from its many users.

Screen shot of the new Woodland Manager mapping component of myForest v3.0

Screen shot of the new Woodland Manager mapping component of myForest v3.0


 What’s new?

  • Responsive design, which means it fits the size of the screen you are using, making it better for using with tablets and laptops.
  • Easy access to the three myForest tools: Woodland Manager, Business Directory, and Woodland Star Rating.
  • Woodland management tool now called Woodland Manager. In here you will find a full screen map and easier access to your woodland information.
  • Quick access to your management plans in your account home screen.
  • Improvements in creating printable maps.
  • Simpler access to the Woodland Star Rating allowing you to measure the management of your woodlands against the UK Forestry Standard.
  • Improved guidance using ‘context-sensitive’ help, including video tutorials.
  • The Wood Market element of the site has been removed while discussions continue with others in the forestry industry to see how they can best use the technology.


Screen shot of the woodland management plan editor within myForest v3.0

Screen shot of the woodland management plan editor within myForest v3.0


Visit the myForest website:

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