Due to Covid-19, we have reduced personnel at the offices of the Sylva Foundation and our premises at the Sylva Wood Centre. Emails and phone messages are being checked but please allow a little longer than usual to receive a response.
Please do not arrange a formal visit without first checking with us. Members of the public are free to enjoy our network of permitted paths through the Future Forest as usual.

news

New myForest services launched in Scotland

posted on September 30, 2015

Forestry Commission Scotland, Royal Scottish Forestry Society and the Sylva Foundation have come together to help foster sustainable forest management in Scotland.

Forestry Commission Scotland, Royal Scottish Forestry Society, and Sylva Foundation's myForest service

The partners

From today a suite of dedicated forest management tools are available to support woodland owners and managers in Scotland via the Sylva Foundation’s myForest service.  Forestry Commission Scotland have made available their new management planning template which is now embedded into myForest, while the Royal Scottish Forestry Society are offering discounted membership for myForest users.

myForest is an existing online platform for woodland owners and managers which aims to support sustainable forest management.  This free service now includes Forestry Commission Scotland’s new management planning template, which can be used for woodlands under 100ha.

myForest provides three applications to help woodland owners:

  1. Woodland Manager: allows owners to produce maps, store information and produce management plans.
  2. Business Directory: allows owners to easily link to other businesses in the forestry sector.
  3. Woodland Star Rating: a self-evaluation tool to measure how woodland management activities match up to the United Kingdom Forestry Standard.
Screen shot of myForest Woodland Manager

Screen shot of the myForest Woodland Manager

Chris Stark, Forestry Commission Scotland’s SRDP Technical Support Officer said:

“A management plan is the basis of good woodland stewardship and management plans are a requirement to allow woodland owners to access grant funding under the new Forestry Grant Scheme. We recognise that many of Scotland’s forests are managed by professional agents due to their size or complexity, but we are hoping that myForest will encourage and support more woodland owners to bring their woodlands into active management.”

Also from today, both existing and new users of the myForest Service will be eligible to join the Royal Scottish Forestry Society at a discounted rate. The offer is open to anyone who has signed up to the myForest Service providing that they have not recently been a member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society. Full details about the offers are available via the myForest website: www.myforest.org.uk/membership-offer

James Hepburne Scott, Royal Scottish Forestry Society Vice-President, said:

“The Society is delighted to be able to partner with the Sylva Foundation and Forestry Commission Scotland to provide access, for present and new members, to the woodland management support systems developed by the Sylva Foundation and enjoyed by many woodland owners South of the border.”

Paul Orsi, the Sylva Foundation’s Director for Forestry said:

“myForest already supports some 3000 woodland owners across Britain but until today we were unable to provide services specifically designed to support Scottish woodland owners and managers.  As the Sylva Foundation does not have members we are delighted to be working with RSFS who provide membership support.  As a charity registered in Scotland these developments are important steps forward in our work supporting good woodland management.”

 


Notes for Editors:

Sylva Foundation is a charity working across Britain caring for forests, to ensure they thrive for people and for nature, and supporting innovation in home-grown wood.  The myForest service is a project of the Sylva Foundation.  Contact: Paul Orsi, Director of Forestry paul@sylva.org.uk  paul@sylva.org.uk

Forestry Commission Scotland advises and implements forestry policy to protect and expand Scotland’s forests and to increase their value to society and the environment. Contact: Chris Stark SRDP Technical Support Officer chris.stark@forestry.gsi.gov.uk  chris.stark@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

The Royal Scottish Forestry Society (incorporating the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society) was founded in 1854. It is devoted to the advancement of forestry and arboriculture in all its branches.  Its members come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, welcoming both professionals and amateurs. Contact: Alistair Harding, Director  director@rsfs.org.uk

Category: FORESTRY, myForest
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myForest supports three thousand woodland stewards

posted on August 28, 2015
myForest mapped woodlands, August 2015

myForest mapped woodlands, August 2015. Click to view live stats.

More than 3000 people are using online tools provided by the myForest service to help bring woodlands into good economic and environmental condition across the UK.

The three thousandth user is a major milestone for the service that was launched in 2010. Since then there has been steady uptake of these tools by woodland stewards, as indicated with some 38,000 hectares (86,000 acres) of woodland mapped.

This is a significant area yet, in relation to the total area of UK woodlands that are owned privately1, it equates to under 2% of the total.

There is evidently much more to be done to support the stewards of woodlands, right across the UK. There are also nations and regions where uptake of myForest has been less evident.

Working in partnership with others the myForest team are developing some exciting plans and activities to bring the benefits of the myForest service to more areas of the UK. Interest from new partners and supporters is always welcomed.


1.  Privately-owned woodlands represent 72% of UK forest area or 2,268,000 ha. Forestry Commission Statistics, 2014.

Live Statistics

You can view live stats for the myForest service at any time: click here

myForest area August 2015

Area of woodland registered on myForest, August 2015

 

 

 

 

Category: FORESTRY, myForest
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Video guidance for myForest

posted on May 19, 2015
Video help on myForest

Video help on myForest

Following on from the launch of myForest v3.0, we have launched video guidance on how to use the various myForest applications and features.

Feedback from users has been that the online help for myForest could be improved.  We have worked hard to make Version 3.0 more intuitive, as well as providing context-sensitive hints and tips, plus a more in-depth Help section.

The six videos that are now live on the site take users step-by-step through the functionality of the Woodland Manager (the main myForest application).  You can find these videos embedded within the Help section of the Woodland Manager and in their own page under the ‘More’ tab.

We hope you find the guidance videos useful.  We will be adding more videos over the coming months. Please let us know if you think we could provide a video to help with a particular feature not already covered.


These videos are directed at users with Woodland Owners or Agent accounts.  Video guidance for those using the myForest for Education account will be available soon.

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myForest for Education – a national first for forest education

posted on May 6, 2015

myForest for EducationWe are excited to announce the launch of myForest for Education: the UK’s first woodland management planning application designed specifically for education.

myForest for Education has been developed as a new feature in the recently-launched myForest version 3.0. In designing and building myForest for Education, we consulted closely with more than 100 Forest School Leaders, environmental educators and teachers who participated in early trials and contributed ideas.

The outcome is myForest for Education – an easy-to-use and free online application that enables any educator, or young person, to generate straightforward woodland management plans, maps and ecological impact assessments for woodland sites and school grounds.

myForest education

A screenshot from the myForest for Education application. The smallest of features can be mapped and described. A management plan can then be created for your site.

 

Key Features:

  • Forest School Leaders undertaking Level 3 training users can produce a Forest School site management plan and ecological impact assessment.
  • Educators using any school grounds, woodland site or other outdoor space in the UK can create printable maps with features and labels.
  • Responsive design, which means it fits the size of the screen you are using, making it easy to use with tablets and laptops.
  • Guidance throughout using ‘context-sensitive’ help.

Sylva Foundation’s Education Manager Jen Hurst said,

“​myForest for Education creates a bridge between the worlds of forestry and education, and it will increase engagement of educators and young people in real life sustainable forest management”.

myForest for Education training workshops are currently being planned at several locations across the UK. They will be targeted at Forest School Leaders, environmental educators or teachers interested learning more about the power of myForest for Education. More information will be posted here soon.

 

We are grateful to our partners the Oxfordshire Forest School Service, based at Hill End Centre near Oxford, and the national Forest School Association for their input and for providing opportunities to run consultation and training workshops with educators.

Find out more myForest for Education

You can also email Jen Hurst for more information

Patsy Wood Trust

Funded by the Patsy Wood Trust


We are indebted to the Patsy Wood Trust for supporting the appointment of Sylva’s Education Manager, and the development of the myForest for Education application.

 


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Major new version of myForest launched

posted on April 24, 2015

A major new version of myForest has been launched by the Sylva Foundation. Version 3.0 of myForest is more streamlined, easier to use and packed with new features.

Existing myForest users can log in as normal and find all their usual account information, saved maps and management plans. New users will find the site intuitive with ‘context-sensitive’ help throughout.

About myForest

myForest serviceThe myForest service was developed by the Sylva Foundation as an online platform to support sustainable forest management by woodland owners and managers (including agents) – because the majority (72%) of woodlands in Britain are in private hands and about half of these are thought to be under- or un-managed.

The service is used currently by 2,500 people to map and manage more than 35,000ha of woodlands across Britain. It is provided as a free service, although donations from users are always gratefully received.

The Sylva team have worked closely with Forestry Commission England to ensure compliance for myForest users with the regulatory framework, and are discussing the same with Forestry Commission Scotland. Also in place is a formal partnership with the Royal Forestry Society and Small Woods Association to promote the myForest service to members.

Why the new version?

Since myForest was launched in 2009, technology has moved forward rapidly so the very latest in online software developments are reflected in the new version. In addition Sylva has taken account of feedback from its many users.

Screen shot of the new Woodland Manager mapping component of myForest v3.0

Screen shot of the new Woodland Manager mapping component of myForest v3.0

 

 What’s new?

  • Responsive design, which means it fits the size of the screen you are using, making it better for using with tablets and laptops.
  • Easy access to the three myForest tools: Woodland Manager, Business Directory, and Woodland Star Rating.
  • Woodland management tool now called Woodland Manager. In here you will find a full screen map and easier access to your woodland information.
  • Quick access to your management plans in your account home screen.
  • Improvements in creating printable maps.
  • Simpler access to the Woodland Star Rating allowing you to measure the management of your woodlands against the UK Forestry Standard.
  • Improved guidance using ‘context-sensitive’ help, including video tutorials.
  • The Wood Market element of the site has been removed while discussions continue with others in the forestry industry to see how they can best use the technology.

 

Screen shot of the woodland management plan editor within myForest v3.0

Screen shot of the woodland management plan editor within myForest v3.0

 

Visit the myForest website: www.myforest.org.uk


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Good Woods in Cumbria

posted on December 15, 2014

In its first year the Good Woods partnership supported 235 land owners and managers across the South-East and East of England with woodland management advice, and provided forestry education for 20 woodland community groups. In an exciting new development, Good Woods has been introduced to North-West England through a partnership with Cumbria Woodlands.

Cumbria Woodlands at the Westmorland Show

Cumbria Woodlands at the Westmorland Show. Photo Cumbria Woodlands

The Good Woods partnership will be working directly with owners of 80 Cumbrian woodlands most in need of support. Training will be provided in woodland management, and in innovative web-based mapping and management tools using the myForest service run by the Sylva Foundation.  As well as the direct support to owners the partnership will be delivering training to community woodland groups in Cumbria that play an important role in the ongoing stewardship of woodlands.

Cumbria is recognised as home to some of Britain’s most diverse and beautiful forests. Across the county, including the Lake District National Park, they cover over 10% (68,167ha) of the total area and provide multiple benefits; notably for tourism, wildlife, water quality and rural employment. Yet many of these forests are under-managed and now failing to deliver benefits to society and the environment, and potentially are unsuited to the future needs of society. They are also vulnerable to changing climate, pests and pathogens.

A sector-sponsored report published earlier this year[1] identified that an additional 50,000 cubic metres could be harvested from Cumbria’s forests, supporting more jobs and adding £9.5M of gross value. Some 165,000 tonnes of CO2 are absorbed in the county’s trees each year, contributing significantly to targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Good Woods is the first activity in a series of interlinked actions aiming to rekindle the health and prosperity of Cumbria’s forests, thanks to an innovative partnership between government, business and the charitable sector (download brochure).

Neville Elstone of Cumbria Woodlands said:

“Funding and innovative thinking from the Good Woods partnership has enabled Cumbria Woodlands to grow and develop the range of ways we can support woodland owners to give their woodlands a more healthy, productive future.”

Alistair Yeomans of the Sylva Foundation said:

“It is an important development to be working with Cumbria Woodlands under the Good Woods partnership as their staff have a great deal of forestry expertise and local knowledge. By working together I am sure that we will help progress sustainable forest management in Cumbria.”

A typical and beautiful Cumbrian woodland.

A typical and beautiful Cumbrian woodland. Photo Cumbria Woodlands

This ambitious new programme of work under Good Woods will lead to more local jobs and home-grown timber. Hand-in-hand it will also improve habitats for nature and deliver ecosystem services such as clean air and water, carbon sequestration, and alleviation of flooding. It is being delivered by three organisations: regional charity Cumbria Woodlands, and two national charities – BioRegional and the Sylva Foundation. Funding for the Good Woods partnership in Cumbria is being provided by DIY retailer B&Q, government agency Defra, and the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.

 

Rachel Bradley of B&Q said:

“It is fantastic to see that B&Q’s investment in Good Woods is continuing to provide a positive impact within individual woodlands, which is where support is actually needed, to ensure that all of society benefit from the full range ecosystem services that trees and woodlands provide”.

Hayley Baines-Buffery of Bioregional said:

“We are very pleased to have expanded the Good Woods partnership’s scope and we are looking for other businesses, charities and Government agencies to work with us to increase the reach of the Good Woods approach.”


More about Good Woods

In January 2013 a partnership was formed between leading home improvement retailer B&Q; sustainability charity, BioRegional; and the tree and forestry charity, the Sylva Foundation. This partnership was named Good Woods with the specific aim of improving the stewardship of woodlands in the UK.

Woodland ecosystems are complex and unfortunately many have been neglected over recent decades. Understanding how best to look after these valuable habitats is greatly assisted by the help of a professional forester. However to help communicate what woodland management actually means in practise, Good Woods created the Woodland Star Rating which aims to help non-foresters understand, adopt and communicate good woodland stewardship activities.

Read more at the Good Woods webpages

[1] Roots to prosperity: an action plan for the growth and development of the forestry sector in Cumbria. (2014)


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Membership offers available through myForest

posted on November 14, 2014

Small Woods Association and Royal Forestry Society membership offers, launched earlier this year, are still available through myForest.

myForest is a free web-based platform offering mapping and management tools for woodland owners and managers. Since May, existing and new users of myForest have been eligible to join the Royal Forestry Society and the Small Woods Association at a discounted rate. Many myForest users have taken up the opportunity to join both membership organisations and the offers remain open to anyone who has signed up to the myForest Service (providing that they have not recently been a member of the organisation they wish to join).

RFS & Small Woods  membership offers

RFS & Small Woods membership offers

The partnership reflects the different specialisms and interests of the three partner organisations. The Royal Forestry Society and Small Woods Association are both membership organisations; together supporting over 6,000 woodland owners. The Sylva Foundation does not offer a membership but runs the myForest Service providing over 2,000 woodland owners and managers with simple yet powerful tools to help them manage their woodlands.

Full details about the offers are available via the myForest website:  www.myforest.org.uk/membership-offer

 

 


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myForest for Educators launched

posted on September 29, 2014
FS Leaders and myForest for Educators

FS Leaders and myForest for Educators

As a direct outcome of our partnership with the FSA (see recent news) we have launched the myForest for Educators at the FSA National Conference in Essex.

On September 27th our Education Manager Jen Hurst ran myForest woodland management workshops for Forest School Leaders. Bringing myForest to the UK’s Forest School community will build a much-needed bridge between the worlds of forestry and education and go a long way to reviving Britain’s wood culture by reaching thousands of young people and educators.

For more information on Forest Schools visit Forest School Association.


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400 businesses registered on myForest

posted on September 16, 2014
businesses on myForest

businesses on myForest in September 2014

myForest has reached yet another milestone in its development with the registration of the 400th business. The business directory on myForest plays an important part of achieving our original goals of helping to re-connect the woodchain. Through myForest we aim to provide an easy link between woodland owners and forestry and wood businesses with the goal of getting more woodlands into management and promoting forest produce for a sustainable future.

In addition to the 400 business, over 1500 woodland owners and managers covering nearly 33,000ha are now using tools provided through the myForest service to help manage their woodland.

If you have a forestry or wood business that you would like to promote to a growing community of woodland owners register now at myForest.org.uk

Category: FORESTRY, myForest
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Stakeholder and Community Engagement Guide published

posted on July 2, 2014
Stakeholder & Community Engagement

Stakeholder & Community Engagement

Engaging with stakeholders and your community can be a very important part of woodland management, both in the planning and operational stages.  As part of the Good Woods project we have updated the Community Engagement Toolkit (first published in 2011).

The new guide,  Stakeholder and Community Engagement – A guide for woodland owners and managers in England, reflects changes to the UK Forestry Standard and other developments in forestry and technology.

The guide is aimed at woodland owners, managers and workers and is designed to help communicate the reasons and benefits of woodland management to the general public. It provides suggestions and guidance to help relate woodland plans to the wider community.

To find out more and download the guide click here


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