Woodland Creation In the Making

posted on April 27, 2020

We’re delighted to announce the development of a major new project. Working in partnership with the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust, the Sylva Foundation is delivering a Woodland Creation Test and Trial to support the development of Defra’s Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.

Woodland Creation project

Woodland Creation project

Sylva Foundation is well-known for its innovative land-management platforms including the Woodland Manager tool in myForest (used by more than 6,000 owners and land managers), Woodland Wildlife Toolkit, Deer Manager, and the online auction platform NatureBid.

The two-year project is supported by a core partnership with the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust, while the approach being taken is to work closely with practitioners to co-design the tools and services of the new platform.

In the first year (2020) we are engaging with stakeholders within the Northern Forest, to co-design and then assess a range of innovative methods to provide greater knowledge and improved management of woodland creation for a wide range of stakeholders at different holding scales and across different landscapes. At the end of March we held an interactive online workshop with 27 stakeholders to start the co-design process.

The main outputs of the project will be the building and testing of a new IT platform to support stakeholders with mapping tools, and links to other decision support tools. We will also be developing a woodland creation plan.

During 2021 we will be refining and retesting outputs with stakeholders beyond the Northern Forest in a second tree planting season.

We have a new webpage for the Woodland Creation project which we’ll be updating regularly.

Creation project partners

Creation project partners

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myForest updated

posted on May 24, 2018

We have launched a new version of myForest, used currently by 4,229 people to map and manage 68,744ha of woodland across the UK. This update is the first stage towards the launch of myForest Prime, which will include enhanced functionality and access to Ordnance Survey Mapping.

The Woodland Manager suite of tools in myForest provides easy to use tools for woodland mapping and management. Regular users will notice several differences and improvements:

The map editor has received a significant upgrade. This includes the ability to produce maps at regular scales (in fact, at any scale) as well as an improved interface, labelling functions and output. Watch our new introductory video tutorial below.

The user account homepage has been streamlined so you can update all your account settings in one place. This includes accessing Deer Management functions and communication preferences.

Finally, updates to our Privacy Notice and Website Terms to make it easier for you to understand what information we collect and why we collect it.

Read more about myForest [if you are already logged in this link will take you to a page with more videos].

myForest updated May 2018

myForest updated May 2018

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myForest supports landscape-scale deer management

posted on October 6, 2017

Thanks to new online technology, landowners and managers now have the ability to create deer management plans and collect and share data more easily to manage and monitor deer population impacts across the landscape, helping to improve the environmental condition of woodlands.

Sylva Foundation has been working with the Deer Initiative to allow landowners and managers to create Deer Management Plans and collate annual monitoring data using the myForest Service.  The project has been jointly funded by Forestry Commission England and Natural England.

All six species of deer in Britain have increased in density and range over the last 40 years. As deer populations have increased, their impact on ground flora and the structure of woods is greater than ever before. In particular, fallow and muntjac deer have had a significant impact on lowland woodlands. Deer may benefit woodland biodiversity at low population densities, but at high densities, their browsing alters three important elements in a woodland: regeneration potential, woodland structure, and ground flora diversity and abundance. Impacts on these elements have ramifications for wildlife which depend on them for habitat and food. Species affected include populations of butterflies and other invertebrates, smaller mammals, birds, and their predators.

Deer management priority areas in England

Deer management priority areas in England

Collaborative management of deer populations at a landscape-scale is seen as critically important in helping to address issues arising from high deer populations in woodlands. Under this joint initiative, five priority areas (see map) have been identified in England where deer are having a damaging impact on important sites, such as woodlands designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. In these priority areas landowners can receive additional support from the Deer Initiative to organise collaborative action across landscapes.

Operations and Research Director for the Deer Initiative, Alastair Ward, said:

“The launch of these new online tools are an important step forward in managing deer collaboratively. The ability for users to share data (should they wish to) will also allow data to flow quickly and easily providing contemporary information on the impact of deer populations on the landscape.”

Director for Forestry and Rural Enterprise at Sylva Foundation, Paul Orsi, said:

“We are delighted to see the functionality we’ve developed in myForest being used to help with deer management. High deer populations are having a huge impact on the regeneration potential of our woodlands which affects them both environmentally and economically.  We hope the system will lead to more owners and managers creating deer management plans, and managing their deer populations”.

myForest is a web-based management tool for woodland owners and managers. Launched eight years ago it is now used by over 3,500 owners and managers covering an area of almost 56,000ha. It has a directory of almost 800 woodland and wood-based businesses. From 6th October myForest users will be able to use the system to create a Deer Management Plan, using the Deer Initiative’s template. Creating a Deer Management Plan is an important step towards managing deer populations. In addition, myForest will allow annual monitoring data to be stored, including cull numbers and deer impact data, from which users can automatically generate reports. To aid landscape-scale management, users can choose to share their information with local Deer Initiative Officers which will help them monitor deer impacts across landscapes allowing assistance to be prioritised. Although this deer management functionality has been specifically developed for use in the five priority areas it is hoped that it will be useful to users across England, and indeed in Scotland and Wales.

myForest deer management screenshot

A screenshot of the myForest deer management tools

Deer Manager in the Google play store

Deer Manager in the Google play store

As part of the work to add deer management functionality, myForest will gain its first mobile app. The myForest Deer Manager will allow stalkers to record cull data on the app which can then be submitted and registered on an owner or manager’s myForest account. Owners and managers will be able to keep up-to-date with cull information and remove the need for stalkers to submit paper records. The app is available now on Android and will soon be available on iOS.

Read more about the deer management functions and sign up for a myForest account online at

Download Deer Manager App from the Apple Store

Download Deer Manager app from the Apple Store – coming soon

Download the Deer Manager app from the Google Play Store

Download the Deer Manager app from the Google Play Store

Notes for editors

For media enquiries and to arrange an interview, please contact:
Paul Orsi, Director for Forestry & Rural Enterprise, Tel. 01865 408018, email

Laura Southward, DI Media & Communications Officer, Tel. 01691 770888, email

About the Partners

Sylva Foundation is an environmental charity which works across Britain to help forests thrive, for people and for nature. It works in four work programmes: science, education, forestry and wood.

The Deer Initiative is a broad partnership of statutory, voluntary and private interests dedicated to ensuring the delivery of a sustainable, well-managed wild deer population in England and Wales.

Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands and increasing their value to society and the environment.

Natural England is the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide.

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myForest Wales launched today

posted on July 19, 2011

Today myForest Wales is being launched at the Royal Welsh Show.

ConFor Wales logo

myForest Wales will be delivered by Sylva in partnership with ConFor, with part-funding from Forestry Commission Wales.  It is also supported by Coed Cymru, the woodland management charity in Wales.

The forestry sector employs more than 16,000 people in Wales and puts £1.7 billion into the economy.  The new myForest Wales service is aiming to boost these figures with the ambitious goal of almost doubling the number of managed woodlands across the country.

myForest in Wales

“Across Wales there are more than 90,000 ha undermanaged woodlands – almost half the tree cover – with management we can improve these woodlands for wildlife, growing firewood and quality timber in the future ,” said Kath McNulty of ConFor, who is leading myForest Wales.

“The best way of achieving this, we believe, is by setting up an information and knowledge hub to pull together the supply chain. Our aim is to support and expand a balanced market for woodfuel, quality timber and coppice materials.”

Part funded by Forestry Commission Wales, it supports new approaches to sustainable management of woodlands and is a significant opportunity for increased woodland biodiversity; carbon sequestration; timber and woodfuel production for local use and additional income for landowners.

Businesses can sign up easily to a directory to promote their services and products. Woodland agents and independent managers are able to create a specialist agent account to assist with the management of their client’s woodland information and link them with the wider wood community.

Bringing woodlands into an appropriate and sustainable management regime is an objective shared by the Welsh Government, Forestry Commission Wales, WFBP, ConFor and the Sylva Foundation.

“The Sylva Foundation is delighted that we can now offer a bilingual myForest service to the woodland community in Wales. Our experience in England is that myForest has helped woodland owners understand the potential of their woodlands and helped them market their woodland products in new and exciting ways,” said Alistair Yeomans, Director of Forestry for the Sylva Foundation.

myForest promotes and works with national forestry organisations and woodland management initiatives, many of which offer vital outreach services to woodland owners and support the development of a sustainable forestry sector.

Woodland owners, managers and forestry businesses in Wales can join this free online woodland community on or for the Welsh language version

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myForest woodland area reaches 3000 hectares

posted on August 23, 2010

Today a  major milestone was met by our myForest Service when the area of woodlands mapped exceeded 3000 hectares across the country.  This represents only a small proportion of woodlands in Britain (about 0.1% of the 3 million hectares of forest) but this is a promising sign that the service is viewed as a valuable tool by woodland owners.

Since its launch in April this year, we have witnessed growing awareness and interest in the myForest Service.  Our vision to reconnect the woodchain across Britain is certainly ambitious and it will not be possible to achieve this without the support of the sector at large.  It is very exciting to witness the daily increase in support and adoption by woodland owners and forestry businesses.

We are indebted to all our partners and supporters for their support, and not least all the woodland owners (about 200 to date).

Read more

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On the ground support and training for woodland owners and businesses

posted on August 17, 2010

Ed Coate is working with the Sylva Foundation and the Oxfordshire Woodland Project to deliver the Southern Oxfordshire LEADER project.  The project is aiming to enhance the forestry sector in Southern Oxfordshire and has been supported by a LEADER grant.  Read more about the project

Ed has an extensive background in woodland and land management, working to promote biodiversity and heritage landscapes for BTCV, and managing woodland for timber, firewood and shooting at the Glympton Estate and at Grove Wood, Faringdon. Prior to this, he has worked with environmental think-tank Green Alliance, helping to organise their publications, and galvanising his interest and knowledge about renewable heat and sustainable biofuel.

Ed has a degree in English Literature from Edinburgh University, and a PGCE in secondary English teaching from Sussex University. During five years of teaching English to children, teenagers and adults, he promoted awareness of environmental concerns alongside good grammar, etc., before realising it was time to work in the environmental sector, and outside of a classroom.

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Impact of Government woodfuel subsidies on woodland management

posted on August 9, 2010
Kathy Norman

Kathy Norman

Kathy Norman will be working with the Sylva Foundation over the next few months. She is studying for a Post-Graduate Diploma in Natural Resources Management at Cranfield University and will be working on her dissertation, looking at the effect of proposed Government subsidies for woodfuel on UK woodland management.

Kathy studied chemistry at Oxford University before spending three years in the oil industry and eight years in the paper industry, in both technical and supply chain roles.  During this time she developed interests in looking at how to optimise the use of our natural resources, that are increasing under pressure.

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LEADER Grant – Enhancing South Oxfordshire’s forestry sector

posted on May 12, 2010

Sylva has been awarded a LEADER grant to support woodland owners in mapping and managing their woodlands in the Southern Oxfordshire LEADER area and to provide a platform for reconnecting the local wood-chain.  Our myForest Service will be the main tool for supporting this work.

SYLVA have teamed up with the Oxfordshire Woodland Project to work on the enhancement of South Oxfordshire’s forestry sector and to achieve the range of social, economic and environmental benefits that go hand in hand with sustainably managed and productive woodlands.

Through the myForest service, the project aims to promote the Southern Oxfordshire LEADER area as a “beacon” of forestry and as an example of how local links between woodland owners and wood-using business can be fostered to achieve sustainable rural economies.

Read more

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Preparing for a public launch of the myForest Service

posted on March 12, 2010

We are making final preparations for the public launch of the myForest Service in April.

The development of myForest by SYLVA has spanned about 18 months.  During this time we have discussed and listened to all views right across the forestry sector. We have also developed powerful yet simple IT tools for our future users.  We have used this time to develop a service that we hope will be really useful to all elements of the woodchain; from woodland owner and agent, through to wood using businesses.

The current usage of the myForest service is approximately 100 businesses and some 50 woodland owners. These users have come to the service by word of mouth, and via our research and development activities.  We believe that we are now ready to launch the service publicly and now hope to gain rapid support and uptake.  The more myForest is adopted the better it will support the forestry sector.

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100 businesses registered on myForest

posted on March 11, 2010

As of March 2010, 100 businesses have registered on the myForest service.

To sign up your business, click here.

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