SilviFuture highlighted in RFS Conifers for Conifers project

posted on November 14, 2014

SilviFuture, a website promoting the use of novel forest species, was featured at this week’s launch of Royal Forestry Society’s Conifers for Colleges project.  Conifers for Colleges highlights the importance of conifers in the UK forestry while promoting research into forest resilience.

Conifers for Colleges provides students attending forestry and woodland management courses, first-hand experience of the tree species that may be needed to ensure that the UK has resilient woodlands and a viable timber industry.  The first trial plots are being planted this autumn at Moulton College, Myerscough College, Plumpton College, Coleg Gwent and Northumberland College.  The data and results will be made freely available to industry via the SilviFuture database so that woodland and forest owners can see what species might grow well on sites comparable to their own. The RFS will also publish the research findings and there will be opportunities for other project partners to do so.

Paul Orsi, Sylva, plants a Serbian spruce (Picea omorika) at Moulton College with Phil Tanner, RFS (right)

Paul Orsi, Sylva, plants a Serbian spruce (Picea omorika) at Moulton College with Phil Tanner, RFS (right)


Category: SilviFuture

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SilviFuture grows

posted on March 14, 2014
SilviFuture coverage March 2014

SilviFuture coverage March 2014

SilviFuture – the network promoting novel forest species – continues to go from strength to strength. The number of records of stands of trees stands at 873 today.

Many of these records have been provided by government research agency Forest Research, supported by Forestry Commission England, Forestry Commission Scotland and Natural Resources Wales. ClimateXChange supported the collection of data in Scotland and a short promotional film (see below).

The project partners are keen that more private woodland owners share information about stands of unusual or novel forest species. Why not visit the website to learn more about the project and how you could help shape a resilient future for Britain’s forests?

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SilviFuture upgraded

posted on March 6, 2014
SilviFuture - a network promoting novel forest species

SilviFuture – a network promoting novel forest species – the frontpage of the upgraded website

SilviFuture marked Climate Week by unveiling a new-look for its free knowledge-sharing database for woodland growers wanting to identify and plant resilient tree species – and has launched an appeal for added data!

SilviFuture, a partnership by Sylva Foundation, Forestry Commission, Forest Research, Silvanus Trust and Royal Forestry Society (RFS), was first piloted in October 2013 and, following feedback from users, has been upgraded and expanded:

  • Details of more than 700 stands of novel species have been added.
  • A traffic light signal to help identify those species where information is urgently required.
  • Facilities for uploading photographs.
  • Additional species.
  • An improved search function, including synonyms.
  • A film, presented by Sylva’s Gabriel Hemery, has also been released and is available on the website’s frontpage.

The partners behind the SilviFuture network are urging woodland growers and managers to check out the information on more than 700 stands of ‘novel’ trees already on the database – and add data from their own stands, so that knowledge can be shared to ensure healthy woodlands and a home-grown timber industry for the future.


Category: SilviFuture
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Share your thoughts and experiences on novel forest tree species

posted on February 20, 2014
SilviFuture - comments

SilviFuture – comments

As part of a number of developments to the SilviFuture network we have added a facility to allow people to share their thoughts and experiences on novel forest tree species.

Commenting tools are provided for each of the 69 species currently listed in the database. The commenting tool is presented on each page dedicated to a specific species, thereby focussing discussion on that species. They are also brought together on a single comments page so that readers can easily view the latest comments from contributors.

We encourage everyone with some experience in growing these species to share it with other woodland owners and managers. Feel free also to share information about a species that you may have read or seen.


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SilviFuture – add your record to 250 others

posted on December 10, 2013


SilviFuture - 250 stands added

SilviFuture – 250 stands added by end November

Following the recent launch of SilviFuture, the number of entries for stands of novel forest species has surpassed 250.

Examples include a stand of Cedar of Lebanon in Dorset, Caucasian silver fir at Kilmun in Scotland, giant redwood in Kent, and Japanese red-cedar in Wales.

If you own or manage a stand of novel forest tree species, please consider adding it to the database so that everyone can learn from your experiences.

We have created a recording sheet that you can take into the forest to help you record the essential information (download).




Category: SilviFuture

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Royal Forestry Society backs SilviFuture

posted on December 3, 2013

The Royal Forestry Society has joined our partnership supporting SilviFuture– an online database promoting and sharing knowledge about novel timber tree species growing in real forestry conditions.

Royal Forestrry Society

Royal Forestry Society

The RFS is also backing a UK-wide drive to ask woodland owners to share useful information on the SilviFuture site on more than 60 lesser known or ‘novel’ tree types, many of which have been growing, almost forgotten, amongst more popular timber trees in private and public woodlands around the country.

RFS Development Director Simon Lloyd says: “With increased challenges to forestry from climate change, pests and disease, it is vital that woodland owners share knowledge about trees species which may prove resilient and become the timber crops of the future.”

The database, created by The Sylva Foundation, The Silvanus Trust, Forest Research and Forestry Commission England, will prove an invaluable tool to foresters looking to decide which species to plant to develop resilient and financially viable woodlands.

A stand of sugi at Brechfa forest garden

A stand of sugi or Japanese red-cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) at Brechfa forest garden. Just one of over 60 species now listed on the online database.

The RFS will be entering data from its Coast Redwoods in Leighton, mid Wales; data on some of the 50 trees species at its Hockeridge and Pancake Woods  on the edge of the Chilterns, and from young new woodlands at Battram in the National Forest where plantings began in 1999. Forest Research, Forest Enterprise England and others are also adding their data.

Simon Lloyd added: “We are urging all our members to do the same, and we are exploring the potential for bursaries that would provide support for forestry students to help private woodland owners add data to the site. This could provide valuable work experience for students and save woodland owners time and effort to record their data.”

As the database grows, foresters and woodland owners will be able to search by species using a range of parameters such as ‘durable timber’ or ‘poor drainage’ plus site data such as altitude, aspect or soil and mensuration data including tree height, dbh or stocking density.

The more data added by landowners and foresters, the more the database will prove of use to us all in the future.

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RFS Woodlands for Climate Change Award

posted on November 28, 2013

A new Woodlands for Climate Change Award  has been launched as part of the 2014 Royal Forestry Society Excellence in Forestry Awards in association with Forestry Commission England and England’s Climate Ready Support Service led by the Environment Agency.

The award has been introduced alongside existing RFS Excellence in Forestry categories to raise awareness of, and promote the importance of, managing woods for resilience to increased threats to woodlands from pests, disease and climate change. It will reward planting that uses more diverse native and novel tree species to ensure Britain continues to produce quality timber.

The award chimes perfectly with the SilviFuture database developed in 2013 by Sylva in partnership with the RFS, Forestry Commission and Silvanus Trust. SilviFuture is a network promoting knowledge exchange in novel forest species. See for more information.

The Woodlands for Climate Change Award, is free to enter and open to all woodlands throughout England where tree plantings over the past five years, both new and restocking, are creating sites that should be resilient to the predicted challenges of climate change and pests and diseases.

RFS Development Director Simon Lloyd said: “The RFS is delighted to partner with the Forestry Commission and England’s Climate Ready Support Service to run the Excellence in Forestry Woodlands for Climate Change award. Currently 80% of our timber is produced from just 10 species of broadleaf and conifer, and several of these, such as larch, Corsican pine and ash are severely threatened by disease. Many woodland owners are considering what species to plant and which silvicultural regime to adopt to better protect their woods against the risk of climate change. Encouraging owners who have been through this process in the last five years and are willing to share their experience will help all woodland owners make better informed decisions.”

There are prizes of £1,000 and £500 and entries must be received by 31 March 2014. Go to  or contact Trefor Thompson at or call him on 01824 704230for details.

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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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