British Woodlands Survey 2014 launched

posted on September 3, 2014
British Woodlands Survey 2014 - find out more and take part

British Woodlands Survey 2014 – find out more and take part

The latest British Woodlands Survey (BWS2014) has launched today and we welcome input from woodland owners and managers.

BWS2014 focusses on ancient woodland, planted ancient woodland sites (PAWS). Following on from BWS2012, this latest survey is exploring current management practices and attitudes towards ancient woodland. The project, jointly co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation and the Woodland Trust, with funding support from Heritage Lottery, is part of a broader project on Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) and ancient woodland.

The survey, available in Welsh and English, is not limited to owners who know they have PAWS or ancient woodland but is open to all woodland owners and managers who have an interest in woodland management.

If you took part in BWS2012, and asked to be kept in touch with future national surveys we will be sending you an email asking you to participate again. The survey is much shorter than BWS2012 and builds on some of the information we received then. We were delighted with the huge survey response in 2012 (1600 respondents) and we hope to match that again in 2014 so that we collect the views of as wide a cross-section of owners and managers as possible – voices that are perhaps often missing in policy discussions in our sector.

We do hope that you will join – or rejoin – and take part !

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One thousand questions submitted – have you shared yours?

posted on June 23, 2014
Take the T20Q survey

Take the T20Q survey

T20Q has been running less than a month and we are delighted that so many people have submitted such interesting questions. We have reached almost 1000 questions in three languages, but we are aiming much higher! Your voice deserves to be heard! So please submit your questions through the website. Click here

Here are a few questions that we received recently (to get you thinking):

  • What is the potential of forests and trees to mitigate climate change if all opportunities of active management and substitution are included?
  • How can we measure biodiversity (potential) with one or a few generic variables that are easily understandable and acceptable?
  • How does urbanisation change the priorities and financial flows to landscapes?
  • Why are forest plantations often seen as negative feature, while planting trees is seen as very positive activity?
  • Which are the “missing middles” in policies related to landscapes, i.e. which areas of forestry/agriculture/other land uses are outside or only marginally covered by policy interventions?
  • How effective is neoclassic economic theory and methods (including natural capital accounting) for realising stakeholder objectives for landscapes?
  • Which development opportunities are lost, and to what magnitude, because siloed sectors and institutions miss out on combined solutions, e.g. across Sustainable Development Goals?
  • To what extent will higher valuation of food (higher food prices) improve farming livelihoods and environmental sustainability and to what extent is there a tradeoff with food security?

T20Q – top twenty questions for forestry and landscapes is a project within the broader Evidence-Based Forestry (EBF) initiative, led by CIFOR and its partners.

T20Q is a global project that allows you to have your say about issues of importance.

Many believe that too few people are involved in setting research and policy agendas. T20Q is a vehicle for your voice.

From May to October 2014 we will be collecting your ideas in a variety of ways, including workshops, online surveys and social media.

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Global project T20Q launches

posted on March 20, 2014


T20Q - top twenty questions for forestry and landscapes

T20Q – top twenty questions for forestry and landscapes

Launching to coincide with World Forestry Day is T20Q – top twenty questions for forestry and landscapes –  a global project that allows everyone to have a say about issues of importance. 

There is growing interest in widening public participation in environmental decision-making and an awareness of the importance of asking research questions which reflect real policy needs. Collecting scientific data is no longer performed only by professional scientists but embraces all sorts of people involved in citizen science projects. But what about the questions that inform those research projects or the issues that emerge as policy priorities? How easy is it to engage with those processes?

The Top Twenty Questions for Forestry and Landscapes (T20Q) is just such an exercise. It builds on earlier work that identified key forestry priorities through a participatory process and invited large numbers of people with an interest in forestry and integrated landscapes to suggest questions they felt had high priority for research and policy.  We expect to receive thousands of questions from around the world, thanks to our partnership with several global partners (see below). Through a process of repeated discussion – both online and in workshops – these questions will be grouped into themes that emerge as the most commonly cited issues. The project is called ‘top twenty’, but this reflects only one of the outputs (namely a list of the top twenty questions) that will come out of discussions of the thousands of questions suggested.

T20Q is a project within the broader Evidence-Based Forestry (EBF) initiative, led by CIFOR and its Partners. EBF is a “collaboration without walls” that aims to improve the quality and relevance of science and policy in forestry and landscape management. Systematic reviews of evidence are the cornerstone of this initiative and a number of these have been underway for the last 12 months. Topics for these reviews were chosen by a panel of experts, but they want to hear what other people active in the field think are important topics. The Evidence-Based Forestry initiative is funded primarily by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through their KNOW-FOR grant to CIFOR.  Read more

The questions received in T20Q will be used to determine what systematic reviews of evidence are needed within EBF, but will also be used for many other purposes – to suggest new research or policy agendas, reveal knowledge gaps, and open up areas for further discussions across disciplines.

The project will use an iterative internet survey approach, coupled with workshops, to determine what the priorities are for forestry and landscapes research and policy. It will also foster conversations between individuals and organisations with an interest in setting priorities for research, policy and ultimately practice.

The homepage for the new T20Q project is You can also follow the project on Twitter @Forestry_Q

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Free access to research paper about T10Q project

posted on February 4, 2014

We are pleased to provide free access (for a limited period) to the following research paper:

Petrokofsky, G., Brown, N.D., Hemery, G.E., 2012. Matching a scientific knowledge base with stakeholders’ needs: The T10Q project as a case study for forestry. Forest Policy and Economics 37, 29–36.

The journal, Forest Policy and Economics, has provided a unique link on Science Direct that provides free access to the article, which is valid until 26th March, 2014. No sign up or registration is needed – just click and read!

Read the article


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SilviFuture article published

posted on January 9, 2014
SilviFuture article in the Quarterly Journal of Forestry. Click to download from our Forestry Horizons website

SilviFuture article in the Quarterly Journal of Forestry. Click to download from our Forestry Horizons website

An article about the SilviFuture initiative has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Forestry.

Hemery, G., Jinks, R., Lloyd, S., Ralph, J., 2014. SilviFuture: promoting and sharing knowledge of novel forest species. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 108, 1, 43–47.

We are grateful to the Royal Forestry Society for permission to make this article freely available on our Forestry Horizons website. Visit our library to download the article.

Please visit the SilviFuture website to find out more about the initiative and how to get involved:


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Living Ash Project – securing the future for ash trees in Britain

posted on November 13, 2013
Living Ash Project

Living Ash Project

Today sees the launch of the Living Ash Project – a Defra-funded consortium of Earth Trust, Future Trees Trust, Sylva Foundation and Forest Research – aiming to identify ash trees with good tolerance to Chalara ash die-back, to sample these trees for further breeding work, and to make this material quickly available to industry.

There are an estimated 120 million ash trees in Britain’s woodlands and hedgerows. Evidence from Denmark, where Chalara ash die-back is more prevalent, indicates that approximately 1% of trees show good resistance to the disease.

While natural selection in some woodlands could enable resistant regeneration, the identification of resistant trees is needed as the basis for a genetically diverse and resilient population for future productive woodland planting.  Quickly identifying resistant trees and using them in a breeding programme will enable us to rapidly produce resilient trees.

The Living Ash Project aims to secure ash trees for the future that show resistance to Chalara ash die-back. It is important that a good proportion of trees that make it through a screening programme will be suitable for timber production to ensure a continued supply of this valuable product for the future. The project partners have been working on breeding ash for improved timber characteristics for over twenty years and in this time have assembled a substantial collection of ash trees from across ash’s native range which has great genetic diversity.

Sylva’s CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery said:

“Sylva’s main role in the project will be to work with members of the public, including woodland owners, who we want to report the presence of healthy trees.” He continued, “We will be announcing details soon about a national ash tree survey, which we hope people across Britain will get involved in: after-all, the future of our ash rests in all our hands.”

The Living Ash Project incorporates work programmes to:-

i)                   identify individual trees that show good tolerance of Chalara ash die-back

ii)                  screen these individuals using genetic markers developed by other Defra funded research

iii)                secure material from these trees in archives for further breeding purposes

iv)                develop techniques for rapid production of tolerant trees for deployment to the forestry sector


Project leader Dr Jo Clark from Earth Trust said:

“This is a great example of charities and government agencies such as Forest Research working together to address what is probably the biggest issue facing our woodlands today. Earth Trust, Sylva Foundation and Future Trees Trust together have dozens of partners and supporters across the forestry sector, all of whom will be getting involved in the awareness, screening and identification work.”

Defra’s Chief Plant Health Officer Martin Ward said:

““We know we can’t eradicate Chalara but the Living Ash project offers  a real solution in dealing with the disease.  Britain’s woodlands are constantly evolving but projects like this one will ensure that ash trees have a place in the woodlands of the future.”

In total, including in-kind contributions from the many partners, the project will cost approximately £1.2M and will take six years to complete.

Information can be found on the project website 

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British Woodlands Survey 2012 – full report published

posted on October 17, 2013
British Woodlands Survey 2012 - download report from the RICS website

British Woodlands Survey 2012 – download report from the RICS website

The full report of the 2012 British Woodlands Survey has been published. Part-funded and published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), it is available for free download on their website.

Nicholls, D, M Young, G Hemery, G Petrokofsky, and A Yeomans. British Woodlands 2012: a National Survey of Woodland Owners. Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, August 2013.

Read more about the British Woodlands Survey 2012

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The British domestic firewood supply chain – report published

posted on October 11, 2013

A summary report of a survey undertaken during 2012 of the domestic firewood supply chain has been published.

Certain aspects of the British woodfuel sector have been the subject of much research recently but have tended to focus on woodchip and pellets. Firewood, in the form of logs, has been largely ignored. A survey, supported by Sylva, was undertaken by MSc placement student Daniel Kinash from Bangor University. Co-authors were James Walmsley, Lecturer in Forestry at the university, and Sylva’s Gabriel Hemery.


  • 336 actors in the supply chain responded during June/July 2012.
  • respondents were distributed across 69 British counties.
  • most respondents (147) were firewood merchants.
  • 97% of suppliers reported gradual or healthy growth in demand in the last five years.
  • the vast majority of respondents considered there being sufficient demand to increase sales volume – equivalent to 60% within the British domestic market, or 77,000 green tonnes per year.
  • barriers to improving supply included financial profitability and time (i.e. lack of efficiency).
  • the main barrier to sales was education of end users, where poor quality firewood drove down prices (i.e. lack of awareness by buyers of wet or green wood)
  • long-term supply contracts would provide confidence to suppliers to invest in machinery and infrastructure.
  • moving towards universal standards and improved clarity of terminology were seen as important but would require a nationwide strategy.

The Royal Forestry Society, publishers of the Quarterly Journal of Forestry, kindly provided permission for Sylva to include a pdf of the full article in our Forestry Horizons library. The article can also be downloaded directly here.

With special thanks to the Royal Forestry Society


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SilviFuture – a network for novel forest species is launched

posted on September 12, 2013
SilviFuture - a network promoting novel forest species

SilviFuture – a network promoting novel forest species. Click to visit the website.

A new network established to promote and share knowledge about novel forest species across Britain has been launched today. SilviFuture has been created by a partnership between Forestry Commission, Forest Research, Silvanus Trust and the Sylva Foundation. It aims to help promote information about trees and forest stands of less common or so-called ‘minor’ species.

At its heart is a website and database that enables woodland owners and forestry professionals to add, search and share information about more than seventy tree species, many of which are less well-known or tested in Britain.

It will support:

  • finding and sharing information on the silviculture of novel tree species. Some of these may prove more resilient to a changing climate or pests and diseases, and provide valuable products for future markets.
  • exploring a database to learn about tree growth, stand management, where certain species grow well in the country, and even successes in their marketing. The database combines research data with real-life growing experience.

Information on the growing potential and end uses of these species is provided, together with geographic information on forest locations in Britain. Forest Research have added data to the database, gathered from decades of research in field trials for many of these species. All the data can be interrogated on a web-based database, complete with maps and further information.

The database will be updated continually and can be searched by species or location to allow those thinking of planting new species to fully evaluate the options, and for researchers to see how species are performing across a range of locations. Future developments will include photo uploads and commenting tools.

Woodland owners and forestry professionals are encouraged to register and upload information. The network has been launched today at the Confor woodland show on September 12th at the Royal Forestry Society stand.

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Summary of British Woodlands 2012 survey published in RICS Land Journal

posted on September 4, 2013

In advance of the full report of the British Woodlands 2012 survey being released by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a summary article has been published in the RICS Land Journal.

Summary article about the British Woodlands 2012 survey in RICS Land Journal

Summary article about the British Woodlands 2012 survey in RICS Land Journal – click to download pdf

We apologise for a typographic error in the second paragraph that appears to state that 92% of woodlands are not in Forestry Commission ownership. This should read 72%.

We are grateful to RICS for granting permission to reproduce here the article that appeared first in the Land Journal in September-October 2013.

The full report on the British Woodlands 2012 survey will be available shortly, and will be advertised on our blog. For more information about the survey visit the British Woodlands survey page on our Forestry Horizons website.

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