As the end of Grown in Britain week nears, the team behind the Good Woods project announces that over 100 woodlands, covering an area of under-managed woodland the size of 13,000 football pitches, has been supported.
Good Woods is a pioneering joint initiative between DIY retailer B&Q, sustainability charity BioRegional and forestry charity The Sylva Foundation, supported by Lantern. Together they are:
- Providing professional forestry advice and woodland planning tools to owners of under-managed woods across the south East and East of England
- Strengthening links between communities and woodlands by communicating the benefits of working woodlands to society
- Aiming to improve the markets for woodland products so that forestry can further contribute to the growth of the green economy
Good Woods is making a strong contribution to Grown in Britain – a new, Government-backed initiative to help Britain further understand and value our nation’s trees and woodlands. Grown in Britain aims to create a strong wood culture by providing more jobs in the forestry sector, improving woodland habitats for nature and creating more places for people to exercise and enjoy the countryside. It is now widely considered that this multi-purpose approach is essential for creating a sustainable future for Britain’s woodlands.Some images showing the work of Good Woods during 2013
Sue Riddlestone, Chief Executive of BioRegional, said: “Good Woods is all about a better future for our woodlands. We want local people to enjoy them, wildlife to thrive in them, masses of carbon to be stored in them and for these woods to produce more useful products, helping the bottom line of Great Britain plc.”
Alistair Yeomans Chief Operating Officer of the Sylva Foundation, said: “Through Good Woods we are providing direct support to owners and managers of woodland. We are working with local land stewardship organisations to link local forestry professionals with woodland owners. We believe that focussing support to bring woodlands back into a good ecological and economic condition lays a strong foundation for a thriving ‘wood culture’.”
Key to the success of Good Woods to date has been identifying existing stakeholders with the necessary local knowledge to identify woodland owners in need of support, then providing them with woodland management resources. Working with a network of organisations ranging from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to Wildlife Trusts has been central to Good Woods’ inclusive ethos.
Through this network, Good Woods has now signed up over 100 woodlands in the south east and east of England covering 7,800 hectares and provided advice based on the UK Forestry Standard. The UKFS sets out the approach of the UK governments to sustainable forest management. www.forestry.gov.uk/ukfs
The Forestry Commission has already started to feel the positive effect by confirming that it has received several management plan applications following Good Woods visits to woodlands.
Sonia Hutton-Taylor, whose four hectare woodland in the South East of England has benefited from a Good Woods visit, said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect but, despite all the training days I have engaged with, I can see that one can’t beat a more tailored approach than a visit from a forestry expert to a woodland.” She continued: “In this respect the Good Woods program is inspired and I am delighted to have been an early recipient of that support from a forestry professional like Paul (the Good Woods Advisor)”.
The Woodland Star Rating
Woodland management planning is key in enabling neglected woodlands to fulfil their potential for people and nature. But it can be a slow process and some owners don’t immediately see why it is needed. To help, Good Woods created a Woodland Star Rating (WSR), a light touch approach to management planning that enables woodland owners to get a feel for what the UKFS involves.
The WSR, based on a simple checklist, enables people to measure how their woodland management activities match up to the UKFS. A score is then calculated for these activities and factors in the level of ecosystem services that the woodland is deemed to provide. These services or benefits include carbon storage, quality of habitats and the products and services provided. Owners can easily download a certificate with their Woodland Star Rating which helps them demonstrate their level of woodland stewardship.
The idea is to support owners in improving their woodlands by identifying what further actions they can take. The rating scheme is available to all woodland owners free-of-charge as part of the myForest service developed and managed by the Sylva Foundation: http://www.sylva.org.uk/myforest/wsr
Alvecote Wood (7 ha) near Tamworth was the first woodland to receive a gold star in July, closely followed by Blenheim Palace Estate in Oxfordshire (over 500ha +).
Community engagement – promoting the benefits of forest management
A vital part of growing a thriving wood culture is to get local communities more involved in their nearby woods across all age groups. Good Woods is achieving this by running workshops and providing resources to increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of carrying out woodland work.
Good Woods is also further developing a Community Engagement Toolkit for woodland owners and managers, originally funded by the Forestry Commission, to provide clear information and resources to woodland owners and managers on developing and building community relations.
Bringing UK timber to market
Goods Woods will present a road map of the current UK wood supply chain, from our national woodland resource through to woodland products in national supply chains. This process will help identify the potential for bringing more timber from British woodlands to market and how B&Q, as one example, could access a greater volume of home-grown timber – thereby generating the market pull to fund woodland management work which in turn will lead to healthy and productive woodlands.
A forest product producer pack for woodland owners is also being developed to help them assess the timber species, volumes and product potential from their woodlands.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Grown in Britain
Grown in Britain week runs from 14-20 October 2013. Find out more about the initiative at www.growninBritain.org
B&Q is the leading home improvement and garden centre retailer in UK. Its parent company, Kingfisher PLC is Europe’s leading home improvement retail group and the third largest in the world.. In 2011 B&Q reached a milestone having ensured that 100% of timber products it buys globally can be traced back to well-managed sources. Building on this success B&Q is now focussing on the UK market with the aim of creating sustainable, long-term working woodlands in the UK that will provide environmental, educational, social and economic value.
BioRegional is an entrepreneurial charity which establishes sustainable businesses and works with partners around the world to demonstrate that a sustainable future can be easy, attractive and affordable. We call our approach One Planet Living. BioRegional has previously pioneered projects to obtain useful woodfuel and charcoal from UK woodlands while conserving them. www.bioregional.com
The Sylva Foundation
The Sylva Foundation is a forestry charity working to revive Britain’s wood culture. It supports about 950 woodland owners across Britain in managing their woodlands sustainably through its myForest service. It also undertakes a range of science and education initiatives. www.sylva.org.uk
Lantern is an innovative environmental organisation that works to make a difference to companies, communities and the environment. It has extensive experience and knowledge of developing wood supply chains across the UK, working with woodland owners, wood processes and end users.
The Good Woods project is a novel project aiming to breathe new life into UK woodlands. The project—a joint initiative between DIY giant B&Q, sustainability charity BioRegional and forestry charity The Sylva Foundation—will revive woodlands to provide environmental, social and economic benefits. For more information contact Amy Hammond: firstname.lastname@example.org