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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:

[this survey is now closed]


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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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Reflections on resilient woodlands

posted on December 3, 2015

Following the successful Royal Forestry Society and Woodland Trust conference in October, on the theme of resilient woodlands, the organisers have released a short film featuring some of the speakers, including Sylva’s CEO Gabriel Hemery.

Remarking about resilience, and reflecting on the fact that the majority (72%) of woodlands in the UK are owned privately, Gabriel said:

“It’s not really about what we think, as those who work in the environmental sector or for government, it’s actually about those who own and care for our forests.”

 


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Environmental factors changing our woodlands say UK owners and foresters

posted on October 1, 2015
Bristish Woodlands Survey 2015 infographic

Bristish Woodlands Survey 2015 infographic

9/10 woodland owners and other forestry professionals who responded to a national survey about environmental change in British woodlands say they had observed at least one form of impact in the past 10 years.

Woodland owners reported increases in vertebrate pests such as deer and squirrels while among professional managers and agents, pathogens and pests were the most commonly-reported impact on the woodlands that they manage.

Responses to the British Woodlands Survey 2015

Responses to the British Woodlands Survey 2015

More than 1470 people responded to the survey. The figures are among the first results revealed by a British Woodlands Survey on Resilience and are being announced today (1 Oct) at a Conference hosted by the Royal Forestry Society and Woodland Trust, Resilient Woods: Meeting the Challenges.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of the UK’s woodlands are in private ownership. The survey provides an insight into how their owners; those who manage them and the nurseries who supply them are responding to potential challenges of the future through their planting and tree species choice. It captured the opinions and activities of those responsible for managing 11% of all privately-owned woodlands in the UK; an area covering 247,571 ha (equivalent to 245,606 rugby fields).

The survey results emphasised that in the past only 44% had specified provenance (origin) when buying trees for new planting. This highlights there may be a lack of awareness of the importance of provenance, and tree genetic diversity in general, when planning resilient woodlands. 69% of owners stated a preference in future for sourcing material grown in UK nurseries, possibly reflecting recent issues around infected imported plants – ash dieback was originally identified in the UK on plants imported from nurseries in continental Europe.

There also appears to be an appetite among private woodland owners towards a move from the current mix of native and non native tree species to a 6% increase in native species compared to non-native species. Such as change was not supported by forestry professionals.

Looking to the future, most respondents believe that climate change will significantly affect our forests, although there is considerable uncertainty among private woodland owners among whom more than 50% are uncertain or don’t believe it will affect forests in the future. This is despite risks highlighted including flooding, drought, wind and fire.

Dr Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and survey co-ordinator, said: “We are passionate at Sylva about working with the many thousands of owners and forestry professionals whose voices are not often heard. The weight of the response to this survey will allow their views and experiences to inform policy and practice for years to come. We are grateful to all those who took part, and indebted to our partner organisations for their support.”

Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust CEO said: “The survey results give the industry some real insight into how our woodlands are changing. We hope the survey will help to stimulate discussion at the conference in order to help kick-start a unified approach to understand the issues more fully, tackle challenges we face as a sector together, and identify a way forward to help create a resilient landscape for the future.”

Simon Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS), whose membership includes many of the private woodland owners of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, says : “The survey shows that most woodland owners are already experiencing the adverse impacts of pests and disease in their woods and expect this trend to continue in future. Survey respondents recognise the need to improve the resilience of their woods to environmental change. The challenge is to provide woodland owners with the evidence base to support long term decisions on species choice and management systems. A lot more work is required in this area.”

 

Of the survey respondents, 821 (56%) were private woodland owners, with professional agents responsible for managing 3473 woodlands and 13 specialist tree nurseries with a combined annual turnover of more than £7.5m also taking part.

The information from the survey will be used by organisations, policy makers and researchers to help improve the resilience of the nation’s forests, and how better support can be provided to woodland owners and managers. The results will also inform the government’s National Adaptation Programme for England.

A full report will be published before the end of the year and made freely available at www.sylva.org.uk/bws


Notes to Editors

The British Woodlands Survey is a series of surveys undertaken to gather evidence about the nations’ woodlands and those who care for them. The British Woodlands Survey is co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation with support from a large number of organisations. The 2015 survey on the theme of resilience was sponsored by Forestry Commission England, Oxford University, and Woodland Trust. www.sylva.org.uk/bws

The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) is an educational charity and one of the oldest membership organisations for those actively involved in woodland management. The RFS believes bringing neglected woods back into management and sharing knowledge on how to manage woods to a high standard is vital to the long term health of our woods and trees. Our policies identify what is required to ensure our woods deliver their full economic, environmental and public benefits. For information go to www.rfs.org.uk. Follow us: Twitter: @royal_forestry, Facebook: Royal Forestry Society – RFS, Linked- In: Royal Forestry Society

The Sylva Foundation is an environmental charity working to revive Britain’s wood culture. It works across Britain caring for forests, to ensure they thrive for people and for nature, and supporting innovation in home-grown wood. Sylva’s forestry think-tank, Forestry Horizons, is the home of the British Woodlands Survey series, which was launched in 2012. Its myForest service is used by more than 3000 woodland owners and agents across Britain. It supports forest education through a number of initiatives, and is fostering businesses at the Sylva Wood Centre in Oxfordshire, which opened in 2015. www.sylva.org.uk Contact: Dr Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive. 01865 408016 (direct dial) or 07759 141438 (mobile). gabriel@sylva.org.uk

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. The Trust has three key aims:  i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife. Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.


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Survey deadline extended

posted on September 17, 2015
British Woodlands Survey 2015

British Woodlands Survey 2015

We have received a fantastic response to our national survey on woodland resilience and environmental change. By popular demand we have extended the deadline until next week. If you haven’t already done so, please do try and find the time to air your views and opinions about this important subject. Thank you.

Visit: www.sylva.org.uk/bws

Headline results from the survey will be announced at a conference to be held in Birmingham on October 1st— Resilient Woodlands: meeting the challenges. Places are still available.  A full programme and booking details can be found here.


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National survey featured on BBC Radio

posted on September 11, 2015

The British Woodlands Survey — this year exploring adaptation to environmental change — has featured on BBC Radio 4 Farming Today.

Gabriel Hemery interview, BBC Radio 4 Farming Today

Gabriel Hemery (centre) and Nigel Fisher being interviewed by Ruth Sanderson at the University of Oxford’s Wytham Woods for BBC Radio 4 Farming Today, September 2015

Sylva CEO Gabriel Hemery arranged for the programme to visit the University of Oxford’s Wytham Woods, perhaps one of the most studied woodlands in the UK. It was an ideal location to discuss the subject of environmental change and how woodland owners can respond, especially given the breadth of research underway in the woodland.

BBC Radio 4 Farming Today

BBC Radio 4 Farming Today. Click to Listen Again.

Conservator Nigel Fisher joined Gabriel for a lively discussion about Wytham Woods, where Nigel revealed their visionary 100 year plan, together with approaches to immediate issues such as the inevitable arrival of ash dieback disease in the county.

You can listen to the programme again here.

If you haven’t already done so, please do try and find the time (15-20 minutes) to complete the survey:

Take the survey


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Encouraging response to national survey with two weeks remaining

posted on September 3, 2015
British Woodlands Survey 2015

British Woodlands Survey 2015

The British Woodlands Survey — this year exploring adaptation to environmental change — is attracting interest from people right across Britain.

We are hugely grateful to all those who have responded. So far over 1200 woodland owners, agents, nursery managers and tree professionals have shared their views and information with us. This is immensely encouraging with over two weeks still to run until we close the survey. The deadline is 15th September.

Map of survey responses received as of 2nd September

Map of survey responses received as of 2nd September

A simple look at the geography of responses received to date shows that there is under-representation in Scotland, and various regions across Britain. Are you in any of these areas, or can you forward this news item to any contacts and encourage them to take part?

In terms of woodland area represented in survey responses received to date, owners and agents managing more than 10% of all privately-owned forests and woodlands across Britain have completed the survey. We can have some confidence that this representation will provide considerable weight to the findings of the survey.

The more responses received representing the full range of attitudes and experiences among the tree and forestry community, the more robust the scientific findings, and the greater the impact on practice and policy for years to come.

 

If you haven’t already done so, please do try and find the time (15-20 minutes) to complete the survey.
Thank you.

Take the survey


(more…)


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Tree nursery builds own reservoir to combat climate warming

posted on August 27, 2015

Environmental change ‒ meaning any change or disturbance of the environment caused by human influences and/or natural ecological processes ‒ seems to be impacting Britain’s trees and forests with increasing frequency and severity.

Oakover Nurseries reservoir

Oakover Nurseries reservoir

The changing climate has already required Oakover Nurseries, a tree nursery based in south-east England, to take adaptation measures. Manager Brian Fraser explained:

“Three years ago we increased our field irrigation capacity by investing in a new five million gallon reservoir. The idea being that this would enable us to better manage drier springs and drought conditions by applying water when the plants require it to support continued plant growth.”

  • What do you think about environmental change?
  • Have you been affected by environmental change?
  • What are you doing about making our trees and forests more resilient to environmental change?

PLEASE TAKE THE SURVEY!

A national survey is 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.

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.

British Woodlands Survey 2015The 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.

The survey is live from July 31st to September 15th 2015. Take the survey: www.sylva.org.uk/bws


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Thousands of broadleaved trees planted to create fire breaks

posted on August 26, 2015

Environmental change ‒ meaning any change or disturbance of the environment caused by human influences and/or natural ecological processes ‒ seems to be impacting Britain’s trees and forests with increasing frequency and severity.

Swinley Forest fire (c) Ian Emery.

Swinley Forest fire in May 2011. Photo (c) Ian Emery. www.flickr.com/photos/mrianemery

In May 2011 a devastating forest fire killed Corsican pine trees across 110 hectares in Swinley Forest, Berkshire. Dozens of local residents had to flee, while owners Forestry Commission England were faced with the clear up and replanting costs. Forestry Commission forest fire expert Rob Gazzard says that:

“We since planted in about 65,000 broadleaved trees, using a mixture of oak and sweet chestnut to form fire belts, formed by fire-resilient species.”

  • What do you think about environmental change?
  • Have you been affected by environmental change?
  • What are you doing about making our trees and forests more resilient to environmental change?

PLEASE TAKE THE SURVEY!

A national survey is 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.

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.

British Woodlands Survey 2015The 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.

The survey is live from July 31st to September 15th 2015.

Take the survey: www.sylva.org.uk/bws


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