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A national tree improvement strategy

posted on June 1, 2017

Last week a National Tree Improvement Strategy for Britain and Ireland was launched by the Future Trees Trust.

The launch of the strategy, attended by Sylva’s CEO Gabriel Hemery (whose early career helped initiate broadleaved tree improvement in Britain), marks a significant milestone in the work of the Future Trees Trust.

The vision of the strategy is:

“Through selection and breeding of a wide range of tree species capable of thriving in UK conditions — broadleaves and conifers, natives and exotics — we aim to promote economic value, genetic diversity and species resilience, producing trees with good vigour and timber quality, showing resistance to known pests and diseases, and able to withstand the seasonal and long-term climatic variations, whilst ensuring that all selected material is available to all interested parties.”

National Tree Improvement Strategy

National Tree Improvement Strategy

The strategy describes over the medium term an intention to have productive seed orchards for ‘new alternative’ conifer and broadleaved plus trees. In the longer-term the aim is to use genomic selection aided by DNA markers to promote important economic traits of key species. Alongside the science, the strategy highlights key elements under Governance, Funding, Intellectual Property and Communication.

The National Tree Improvement Strategy is now available to download.


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Chalara ash dieback workshop

posted on March 10, 2017

Grassington Town Hall, Grassington, Yorkshire
Thursday June 8th, 10am – 4pm

Ash dieback workshop

Ash dieback workshop

This free workshop will bring together managers of ash research sites, concerned land-owners and managers of woodlands experiencing or threatened by Chalara ash dieback. The aim is to share information and experience and to renew partnerships in ash genetics and tree improvement research.

Speakers at the workshop will be:

  • Dr Jo Clark (Earth Trust) – The Future Trees Trust ash improvement programme and the Living Ash Project.
  • Ted Wilson (Royal Forestry Society) – The biology of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.
  • Dr Gabriel Hemery (Sylva Foundation) – Getting people involved! The AshTag citizen science project.
  • Ted Wilson (Royal Forestry Society) – Silviculture and management of ash – best practice advice for woodland managers.

After lunch, we will visit Grass Woods, a mature woodland owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust which has been badly affected by Chalara ash dieback.
Numbers are limited, so to reserve your place at this important event, contact Tim Rowland at Future Trees Trust on 07896 834518 or e-mail him at Tim.Rowland@futuretrees.org


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Phase 2 completed of British Woodlands Survey 2017

posted on March 3, 2017

Following a successful stakeholder workshop yesterday in Edinburgh, we have completed Phase 2 of the British Woodlands Survey.

The 40+ delegates from workshops held in Oxford, Grantham, Machynlleth and Edinburgh have worked together to prioritise the themes for the main survey, which will launch in June. They also identified priorities for each country, which we will use in the survey to question stakeholders about key issues of regional or country significance.

Summary results of the four workshops are shown in the graph below — it is interactive so hovering your mouse of the bars will reveal more information. Note that the two English workshops have been combined.

The top GB-wide theme was Societal Attitudes, followed by Climate Change Adaptation and Pests & Diseases. It is interesting to note how much contrast there was between some countries for certain themes; for example the low important attributed to Tree Planting in Wales, and Managing for Carbon in England. These results will help us in concentrating questions in the survey to fit with themes or priorities considered most important across GB and its countries.

 

We are very grateful to all the participants, hosts and funders for helping make these workshops so productive.


Read more at www.sylva.org.uk/bws or read previous news below:

Helping shape the future of forestry


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Helping shape the future of forestry

posted on February 17, 2017

This week we held our second of four workshops across Britain with stakeholders, helping set the main themes for the next British Woodlands Survey to launch in the summer.

BWS2017 Grantham workshop

BWS2017 Grantham workshop

BWS2017

Through a series of four stakeholder workshops we aim to shape the main ‘Themes’ of a survey which will be launched in June 2017. Each workshop builds on the outcomes of the last in an iterative process (see diagram below). The concept of identifying Themes is to ensure that the eventual survey questions focus on the most important issues of our time, as it is impractical to ask questions about every aspect of interest to all stakeholders. The Themes have arisen from previous research and workshops. Along with the GB-wide main Themes, we will allow Themes to emerge at each workshop which relate to country or regional issues.

This second workshop (the first being held in Oxford) was kindly hosted by the Woodland Trust. We welcomed several private woodland owners, plus representatives from Woodland Trust, National Forest and Tilhill. Colleagues from the Social & Economic Research Group at Forest Research are attending each workshop to assess the effectiveness of the approach adopted and to ensure academic rigour.

Next week we will holding our third workshop, this time at the Forestry Hub in Machynlleth, kindly hosted by Llais y Goedwig.

BWS2017 workshops - an iterative process

BWS2017 workshops – an iterative process


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Help shape the future of forestry

posted on January 18, 2017

We are holding a series of workshops around Britain to help shape the 2017 British Woodlands Survey 2017 (BWS2017). If you are a woodland owner, forest manager, forestry business owner, land agent or have other related interests, and you are interested in helping shape the future of forestry, please read on.

BWS2017 is led by researchers from Forest Research, Sylva Foundation, University of Oxford and Woodland Trust. Funding is provided by Scottish Forestry Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, and Woodland Trust.

BWS2017 is led by researchers from Forest Research, Sylva Foundation, University of Oxford and Woodland Trust. Funding is provided by Scottish Forestry Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, and Woodland Trust.

For BWS2017 we are adopting a novel approach whereby the researchers are inviting participants to suggest important themes the survey should address. We are calling this ‘360-degree’ research, meaning that participants suggest the themes, then can help by contributing ideas and helping interpret findings. Your participation is welcome in all or any of the phases, the next being Phase 2:

  1. [Phase 1 – Help shape the survey by suggesting priorities. September 2016. COMPLETED]
  2. Phase 2 – Attend a workshop to agree final themes & priorities. February/March 2017.
  3. Phase 3 – Contribute to the survey. June 2017.
  4. Phase 4 – Help review findings. September 2017.

Dates and Venues

February 1st       – Oxford Martin School, Oxford University, England

February 15th     – Woodland Trust HQ, Grantham, England

February 22nd    – Forestry Hub, Machynlleth, Wales (hosted by Llais y Goedwig)

March 2nd         – Centre for Carbon Innovation, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Each workshop will be lively and all participants will be fully involved in helping shape outcomes. Tea and coffee and a light lunch will be available. There will be no charge for attending.

We hope that we will be able to find places for those who want to attend, but as venues are not large, we will aim to get a good balance of participants across the sector; once that condition is fulfilled, we will assign places by random selection.

If you are interested in helping shape the future of British forestry by attending a workshop, please complete this form:

https://sylva.org.uk/freshlime /index.php/825324


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Help shape the next national woodlands survey

posted on September 14, 2016
British Woodlands Survey 2017

British Woodlands Survey 2017 – click to read more

The team behind the next major survey about our woodlands — launching in June 2017 — wants to hear from anyone with an interest in shaping the future of forestry in the UK.

This is an opportunity for you to shape the fourth in a series of important national surveys, which will contribute to the development of forestry policy and practice in the UK.

Adopting a novel approach, the researchers are inviting participants to suggest important themes the survey should address. They are calling this ‘360-degree’ research, meaning that participants suggest the themes, then can help by contributing ideas and helping interpret findings. There will also be opportunities to take part in workshops around the UK.

Your participation is welcome in all or any of the following phases:

Phase 1 – Help shape the survey by suggesting priorities. September 2016.

Phase 2 – Attend a workshop to agree final themes & priorities. February 2017.

Phase 3 – Contribute to the survey. June 2017.

Phase 4 – Help review findings. September 2017.

 

To read more about the survey series and find out how take part in Phase 1 – click here

 

Core Supporters of BWS2017

BWS2017 is led by researchers from Forest Research, Sylva Foundation, University of Oxford and Woodland Trust. Funding is provided by Scottish Forestry Trust, Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission Scotland.

 


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People power appeal to save the ash reaches world’s ears

posted on May 16, 2016
Gabriel Hemery inspecting an ash tree fitted with an AshTag

Gabriel Hemery inspecting an ash tree fitted with an AshTag

As part of the publicity surrounding the relaunch of AshTag today, Sylva Foundation chief executive Gabriel Hemery was interviewed by Paul Hawkins for the BBC World Service.

The Living Ash Project is hoping that many more volunteers will help find ash trees that show some tolerance to the dieback fungus. So far one tree — nicknamed ‘Betty’— has been found by another group conducting genetic studies. We need to find at least 100 more trees that show some tolerance to ash dieback, and that’s where you can help!

Read more about the relaunch

With kind permission of the BBC, you can listen the full version of the interview using the link below.


Find out more about how you can help secure a healthy future for ash in Britain. Visit the Living Ash Project website and request a free ashtag.


The Living Ash Project is a Defra-funded consortium comprising representatives from Earth Trust, Future Trees Trust, Sylva Foundation and Forest Research. It aims to identify a large and diverse number of ash trees with good tolerance to Chalara ash dieback, to secure this material for further breeding work, and to quickly make this material available to industry.

We are indebted to volunteers of the Earth Trust in preparing the AshTag packs.


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Help tackle ash dieback

posted on

Wondering what to do about ash dieback? Here’s how you can help.

A unique project is hoping to stem the tide of the ash dieback disease by encouraging people to help in finding the solution.  Although millions of trees are at risk from the disease, the Living Ash Project, one of several research projects into ash’s resilience to dieback, is aiming to find tolerant native ash trees from which to breed the next generation of healthy trees.

Living Ash Project

Living Ash Project

The Living Ash Project is a consortium of specialists including environmental charities Earth Trust, Sylva Foundation and Future Trees Trust, and the Forestry Commission’s research agency Forest Research.

The £1.2M project, funded by Defra, is the only ash dieback project to use ‘citizen science’ to help in gathering information. Members of the public are encouraged to obtain a special aluminium tag to fix to an ash tree and submit basic details about the tree on-line, together with a photo.

The project needs to identify healthy trees, especially in areas where other ash trees are succumbing to ash dieback. As spring advances and leaves begin to appear, now is the perfect time to identify the signs of ash dieback – wilting growth and possibly even bark lesions.

Using the AshTag app on your smartphone or tablet in the field makes the survey really simple

Using the AshTag app on your smartphone or tablet in the field makes the survey really simple

The Living Ash Project urgently needs your help to identify tolerant trees. It is thought that 1% of our ash trees will show a good level of tolerance to ash dieback. The Living Ash Project needs to find at least 400 of these from across the UK to create the next generation of healthy trees. Ash tags are available free of charge from the Living Ash Project by visiting their website www.livingashproject.org.uk

Defra’s Chief Plant Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spence, said:

“Defra is very pleased to be able to support this important project. Not many people may know that 46 species of plants and animals can only live on ash trees, so it’s not only the trees we will be saving.”

Living Ash Project’s lead, Dr Jo Clark, said:

“We really need the help of the public to find healthy ash trees across the country. We’re asking anyone that spends time in the countryside and cares about our woodlands to keep their eyes open for healthy trees in areas of ash dieback and if they spot a healthy tree, report it on the project website.”

 


The Living Ash Project is a Defra-funded consortium comprising representatives from Earth Trust, Future Trees Trust, Sylva Foundation and Forest Research. It aims to identify a large and diverse number of ash trees with good tolerance to Chalara ash dieback, to secure this material for further breeding work, and to quickly make this material available to industry.


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Web-based platform revealed at NaturEtrade workshop

posted on May 5, 2016

Another successful workshop for the EU/University of Oxford-funded LIFE+ project NaturEtrade was hosted by Sylva Foundation.

Around 30 people attended the workshop from a range of organisations with an interest in natural capital, assessing ecosystem services and monitoring environmental change. The workshop covered the motivation for developing resource stewardship tools that combine ease of use with robust behind-the-scenes science to provide land managers with affordable, reliable ways of assessing the natural capital of their land.

NaturEtrade Workshop Spring 2016

NaturEtrade Workshop Spring 2016

People at the workshop had the opportunity to try out an early version of the NaturEtrade platform after walking round a particularly rich landscape in Little Wittenham that offered the opportunity of discussing water, pollination, land use, cultural and recreational uses of landscape, and soil erosion; all of which are features of NaturEtrade.

The project is working with economists from the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School who are helping think about how best to run the sort of auctions that will maximise the impact of NaturEtrade to landowners ‘selling’ ecosystem services and business  ‘buying’ these services in a novel way that complements offsetting and current government environmental stewardship funding mechanisms. Inputs from those attending the workshop will be incorporated into developments and improvements in the tool and its promotion to stakeholders.

Read more about NaturEtrade

Category: NaturEtrade
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Forest reproductive material and climate change

posted on March 9, 2016

Forest owners, managers and policy-makers may remain unaware of the potential that the use of forest genetic resources offers for facilitating the adaptation of forests to climate change. We summarise the latest guidelines for foresters in England.

Forestry Horizons Occasional Paper, No.1

Forestry Horizons Occasional Paper, No.1

A working group of European Forest Genetic Programme (EUFORGEN) recently considered the use and transfer of forest reproductive materials or FRM in the context of the challenges of climate change. They examined scientific research on provenance and adaptation, including several case studies of transfer, the existing regulatory framework and recent policy developments, guidelines on FRM transfer and their scientific basis, and future challenges and opportunities.

Forestry Commission England asked the Forestry Horizons think-tank to consider this evidence and highlight practical information of importance to foresters. With the addition of specific geographic and policy advice the paper has been made particularly relevant to the forestry sector in England.

You can view the paper in the Forestry Horizons online library, where it can be downloaded for free.


Citation:

Hemery, G. (2016). Use and transfer of forest reproductive material in England in the context of climate change. Forestry Horizons Occasional Paper, No.1. 5pp. www.forestryhorizons.eu ISSN 2053-3241

 


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