A discussion about Wood Culture

posted on July 23, 2020

Recently, Sylva Foundation CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery was interviewed by Tom Barnes, Director of Vastern Timber, about Wood Culture. They discussed public perspectives of forestry and the need to recreate an affinity between society and the natural world.


With thanks to Vastern Timber.

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Wood culture revival requires collaboration and a coherent story

posted on November 11, 2015

Sylva Foundation CEO Gabriel Hemery talked about wood culture at Confor’s Westminster conference this week.

Gabriel Hemery talking at Confor's Westminster conference

Gabriel Hemery talking at Confor’s Westminster conference. Photo Grown in Britain.

After reading a couple of verses from W. H. Auden’s poem — A culture is no better than its woods — Gabriel talked about how society could revive a wood culture in Britain by addressing three key aspects.

PEOPLE – the need for more collaboration and for a coherent story so that all of society feels an affinity with the natural world. He called for Forest School to be available to all children in the UK. Such actions, he said, will ensure that society is sustainable.

WOODLANDS – the need to bring more of our forests into good management (as measured against the UK Forestry Standard), by supporting woodland managers and innovating in all areas including new green economics. This will ensure that our woodlands are sustainable.

WOOD – to bring innovation into the heart of our wood sector, from the way that we understand and inventorise our wood resources, to engineering innovations including thermal-modification and nano-crystalline cellulose. Such steps will help deliver a sustainable economy.

Gabriel ended by calling for more collaboration between organisations to create a strong and coherent voice for forestry, in all its guises.

“How much they cost each other and the gods.
A culture is no better than its woods.”

Bucolics, II: Woods; W.H. Auden.

Thanks to Confor for organising an excellent conference.

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A golden woodland

posted on October 3, 2013

Sylva’s CEO, Gabriel Hemery, recently attended the Small Woods skill share weekend, following an invitation to give a presentation about our wood culture (read more).

Small Woods skill sharing weekend

Small Woods skill sharing weekend. Photo Small Woods.

Speaking to an audience of about 40 woodland owners attending the event at the Green Wood Centre near Ironbridge, he outlined Sylva’s work to revive a wood culture in Britain, defining it as “the stewardship of woodlands and the use of forest produce for a sustainable future.”

He explained work underway in the Good Woods project, running in conjunction with partners B&Q and BioRegional. Gabriel introduced the Woodland Star Rating, based on the UK Forestry Standard, to the audience, explaining how it aimed to support and encourage woodland owners to further their own understanding and activities, and also to demonstrate to members of the public the great work that the owners do to support sustainability in their woodlands. As he announced that the ultimate accolade for a woodland owner under this scheme was to achieve Gold Standard, one member of the audience immediately announced that she was indeed the proud owner of a Gold Standard woodland. Completely unscripted of course, it was a wonderful moment and given the rarity of woodlands achieving this standard currently, an unlikely one. This prompted a spontaneous round of applause from all.

With thanks to Small Woods for their invitation to Sylva to speak at the event.

If you are a woodland owner in south east or east England and are interested in a visit from a Good Woods advisor, please visit our Good Woods page to find out more.


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Sylva supports Grown in Britain

posted on March 22, 2013
Grown in Britain

Grown in Britain

Sylva is pleased to lend its support to a new movement known as Grown in Britain that has been launched with cross-Government support and the involvement of all parts of the forestry sector across Britain.

Its aims are to:

  1. Create a new and stronger market ‘pull’ for the array of products derived from our forests and woodlands.
  2. Develop private sector funding that supports the planting and management of forests and woodlands through funding from corporates as part of their corporate social responsibility.
  3. Connect together and harness the positive energy and feelings towards our forests and woodlands that many in our society share to create a strong ‘wood culture’.  A wood culture that captures personal health and fitness, well-being, community and encourages use of more wood and forest products.

Sylva is pleased to endorse the movement, and in particular are pleased that its work with partners B&Q and BioRegional (read more) can offer an early and practical example of how the sector can work together to make a lasting impact on the future of Britain’s forests. It also chimes perfectly with Sylva’s mission to ‘revive Britain’s wood culture‘, that we have been working hard towards since our inception five years ago. We look forward to supporting the movement in every way that we can.

Read more about Grown in Britain

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