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.


T20Q – Top twenty questions for forestry and landscape

posted on October 7, 2014
Take the T20Q survey

Take the T20Q survey

Researchers from around the world are gathering this week at the IUFRO 24th World Congress in Salt Lake City to discuss the future, and the related challenges, facing forests and forest management in the 21st century. This comes hard on the heels of the climate talks in New York in late September, where forests were high on the agenda, the CGIAR Development Dialogues, which aired synergies (and, importantly, gaps) between forestry, agriculture and other land-use sectors, and a Colloquium on Forests and Climate organised by Columbia University and CIFOR, at which leading thinkers considered how we could ‘change the future by challenging the present’.

All of these events provide a ‘sort of scientific crystal ball to give glimpses into the years ahead and discuss how to meet and adapt to coming challenges’, as Congress Spotlight 17 so eloquently put it!

The T20Q project is also a crystal ball and is asking, this time ‘non-leading’ thinkers, to add their no-less-important thoughts to the questions of where forestry’s priorities lie for research and policy.

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. It follows a highly successful ‘T10Q’ project for British foresters, but this time extends the call for questions in three languages to a wider community of people involved with forestry and landscapes. It is being co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation, a leading UK charity promoting evidence-informed forestry.

Response has been excellent so far – reaching people in more than 104 countries, and engaging many more young people and women than is usual with surveys in our field! We have received well over 3000 questions, but we would like to use the opportunity of engaging with the ‘IUFRO family’ now gathered in Salt Lake City to urge them to add their voices and to encourage people in their home institutions also to join the T20Q conversation.

The survey takes less than 30 minutes. Take part if you think:

  • we need to recalibrate how forests are presented in mainstream politics
  • too few people are involved in setting research and policy agendas
  • we should talk about forestry in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • ‘traditional’ forestry topics are being side-lined in the pursuit of broader linkages


Take part in the Survey: you can input in English, French or Spanish.

Visit the CIFOR booth (numbers 1103 & 1202) in the Congress Exhibition for more information about T20Q and Evidence-Based Forestry.

We look forward to hearing your stimulating questions!

Have a wonderful conference!

Gillian Petrokofsky, University of Oxford Research Fellow & CIFOR Senior Research Associate
Gabriel Hemery, CEO, Sylva Foundation
Peter Holmgren, DG, CIFOR

This article appeared first in the IUFRO blog

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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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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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Cord-forming fungi in British woodlands

posted on July 9, 2013

Sylva scholar Kirsty Monk, has co-authored a paper published in the Royal Forestry Society‘s journal this month. It describes the role and importance of the lesser known group of ecosystem engineers in British woodlands; cord-forming fungi. With fellow author Gabriel Hemery, they examine the extent of our fungal knowledge and discuss their implications for forestry in the future.

Cord-forming fungi in British woodlands: what they are and what they do

Cord-forming fungi in British woodlands: what they are and what they do

The authors end with a salient and practical point for all woodland owners:

“The time has come to consider all components of woodland ecosystems when managing for timber or woodland products. Future improvements to timber yields and woodland health will lie in improving nutrient cycling and woodland resilience, especially in the light of projected environmental change and the uncertainly it presents to woodland owners and managers.”

Monk, K. and Hemery, G. (2013). Cord-forming fungi in British woodlands: what they are and what they do. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 107, 3, 197-202.

The article is freely available to download from the Forestry Horizons library, with kind permission of the Royal Forestry Society.


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Oxford University consortium win LIFE+ funding

posted on July 4, 2013
Details about NaturEtrade on the EU's announcement document

Details about NaturEtrade on the EU’s announcement document

We are delighted to announce that a consortium, led by Oxford University and supported by Sylva, has secured funding from the European Union’s Life+ programme for a €1.95 million project.

The five year project is called NaturEtrade, and will involve creating a marketplace for ecosystem services.

We will soon issue a full press release about the project including the activities and partners. Meanwhile you can read more about the Life+ 2012 projects (see page 151) that are being supported across the UK and the rest of Europe.


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