Tree Charter legacy lives on

posted on April 17, 2018

The Charter for Trees, Woods and People, launched in 2017, continues to result in media interest and actions on the ground. This week is the inaugural meeting of the new Tree Charter UK Board.

Sculptor Simon Clements (based at the Sylva Wood Centre) features this month in the Countryside Magazine, in an article highlighting the best of British craft and focusing on his work creating the Charter Poles. Another of the Sylva Wood Centre craftspeople, Rodas Irving of Oxford Oak, recently returned from Grizedale Forest in Cumbria where he completed installation of seating around the base the ‘Strengthening Landscapes‘ sculpture; one of 11 Charter Pole sculptures located around the UK.

Now that the Tree Charter exists, the next step is to embed it into the fabric of society. A Tree Charter UK Board has been established comprising of organisations which played a key role in developing the Tree Charter to date, and can ensure a broad range of views are represented. We are pleased that Sylva Foundation CEO Gabriel Hemery is one of the Board members, which will meet for the first time this Friday.

Read more about the Tree Charter.


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See us on BBC Countryfile this weekend

posted on November 2, 2017
BBC One Countryfile

Watch us on BBC One Countryfile

We’re looking forward to seeing the Sylva Wood Centre on BBC Countryfile this Sunday evening.

The programme team visited us, with presenter Matt Baker, to see sculptor Simon Clements at work on the Tree Charter Poles (read more), Nick Keighley’s mobile sawmill in action, and local school students enjoying a Forest School session in young woodland in the Future Forest and woodland on the Earth Trust’s neighbouring land.

The programme will be broadcast on 5th November at 6.15pm on BBC One. You will be able watch the programme online here

Willowcroft Community School children with Matt Baker for BBC Countryfile

Willowcroft Community School children with Matt Baker for BBC Countryfile



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BBC investigates future forests

posted on May 26, 2017

The Future of Forestry was this week’s theme on the BBC Radio 4 flagship environmental programme Costing the Earth.

BBC Costing The Earth

BBC Costing The Earth

The main question posed was whether Britain could revive its forestry and provide for more of its own needs.

BBC reporter Tom Heap came to interview Sylva’s CEO Gabriel Hemery at the Sylva Wood Centre. He also spoke with one of our resident furniture makers Jan Waterston, our current craftsperson-in-residence in partnership with Rycotewood Furniture Centre. The programme also featured Stuart Goodall from Confor, and Matt Larsen-Daw from the Woodland Trust.

The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer.

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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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Talking trees and forests with BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz

posted on October 27, 2014
BBC Radio Oxford

Gabriel Hemery on BBC Radio Oxford

On Sunday our Chief Executive Gabriel Hemery was interviewed by BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz on BBC Radio Oxford. He talked about forests and the work of the Sylva Foundation, and The New Sylva book which was released in the US last week.

“It’s terrific to have a wood evangelist on the show!” Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor

You can listen to the programme on the BBC website for one week only (fast forward to 1:08)

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Global Landscapes Forum features T20Q

posted on July 16, 2014
Gabriel Hemery with one of his questions submitted to T20Q

Gabriel Hemery with one of his questions submitted to T20Q. Have you submitted yours?

Sylva CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery was interviewed about the global crowdsourcing project T20Q.  The article by journalist Julie Mollins was published this week in the Global Landscapes Forum.

Here’s a short extract from the Q&A interview:

Q: What inspired the T20Q project?

A: At its heart, the inspiration is to get everyone with an interest in forestry and landscapes to contribute towards research and policy agendas. This will ensure that research undertaken — at whatever level — is relevant and policy development reflects perceived priorities. To use “buzz words”, this is referred to as a participatory process that supports evidence-based policymaking.

T20Q – Top 20 Questions for Forestry and Landscapes – is a project run by multiple partners. The website is hosted by the Sylva Foundation at:


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Sylva contributes to BBC debate

posted on January 27, 2011
Gabriel Hemery on BBC Newsnight January 2011

Our Chief Executive, Dr Gabriel Hemery, was interviewed for the BBC Newsnight’s film about Government’s proposals to sell some, or all, of the public forest estate in England.

Gabriel was interviewed with other leading figures of English forestry and woodland-related organisations, including ConFor’s Stuart Goodall, and Sue Holden of the Woodland Trust.  A studio discussion followed the film.

The media interest preceeded the Government’s long-awaited public consultation that is expected to be published today.  We released our own position statement on this issue last week.

The programme was broadcast on Wednesday 27th January.  For the next seven days you can watch the TV programme on the BBC website (skip to 26 minutes through the programe to watch the forests film).

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Home-grown wood

posted on October 15, 2009

We were pleased to see a great article written about Sylva published in the Oxford Times business section today.  It eloquently tells the story behind the inception of the Sylva Foundation, and concentrates on our innovative myForest service.

The article focusses on myForest as this is our project aiming to connect the woodchain in Britain with a view to supporting sustainable forest management.  We hope myForest will encourage woodland owners to make available home-grown wood, and help wood users to find it.  The environmental benefits will be manifold, from reducing our country’s wood miles, to bringing under-managed woodlands into better condition for wildlife.

You can read the article here.

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