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Three hundred Woodland Stars

posted on April 24, 2014

Over three hundred woodland owners have completed a self-assessment of their woodland using the Woodland Star Rating.

The Woodland Star Rating was developed to encourage sustainable forest management in all woodlands, and promote greater understanding of good woodland stewardship among the general public. It is a self-assessment scheme based on the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). It was developed by the Sylva Foundation as part of the B&Q Good Woods project, with the support of BioRegional, B&Q, Lantern and others in the forestry sector.

Woodland Star Rating form

Woodland Star Rating form, accessible online in the myForest website

If you are a woodland owner or an agent, the scheme is freely available on the myForest website.

Using the Woodland Star Rating scheme

  1. Create a woodland owner account on myForest.
  2. Start mapping your woodland with the GIS tools that myForest provides.
  3. Click on the “star rating” tab on your account home page.
  4. Detail what you are doing in your woodland by answering the questions.
  5. Submit your assessment and download your certificate.

 

 


Good Woods - for people, for nature

Visit the Good Woods web page

The Good Woods project is a novel project aiming to breathe new life into UK woodlands. The project—a joint initiative between DIY giant B&Q, sustainability charity BioRegional and forestry charity The Sylva Foundation—will revive woodlands to provide environmental, social and economic benefits.


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Woodland Star Rating presentation at FC and Defra woodland management seminar

posted on October 10, 2013

At the end of last month Alistair Yeomans of the Sylva Foundation was invited to give a presentation to members of Forestry Commission England and Defra on the Good Woods project.

The purpose of the seminar was to provide an overview of a number of recent projects that aim to assist efforts to bring more woodlands into management and to increase new planting. Presentations were also given on behalf of URS, Ipsos MORI, RDI, University of Aberdeen, CJC Consulting, James Hutton Institute and Forest Research.

The Woodland Star Rating on myForest – helping woodland owners measure the ecosystem services from their woodland

The Woodland Star Rating on myForest – helping woodland owners measure the ecosystem services from their woodland

Alistair presented details of how the Woodland Star Rating scheme that has been developed, with funding from B&Q under the Good Woods project, using evidence gathered from the British Woodlands 2012 survey.

The Woodland Star Rating enables woodland owners and managers to measure the level of woodland management being practiced, based on the UK Forestry Standard, and how this relates to the ecosystem services that their woodland provides. This in now fully functional for all myForest users.

The UK Forestry Standard provides guidelines on ecosystem services under forest productivity:

‘The maintenance of the productive potential of forests includes both timber production, which serves the development of forest industries and economic well-being, and wider non-market benefits and values such as recreation, and other ecosystem services. The essential consideration for the landowner or manager is to ensure that the forest thrives and is not degraded. This includes protecting young trees to make sure they become successfully established, and protecting the health of forests and woodlands, for example, by ensuring they have the necessary resilience to cope with emerging threats and changing conditions – in particular climate change. It also involves maintaining levels of fertility and site potential for future rotations’.

The Woodland Star Rating has been designed to help woodland owners achieve this aim.

Alan Betts’ retirement

Alan Betts gives his farewell speech to Forestry Commission and Defra colleagues on the Forestry Commission’s Alice Holt lawn

Alan Betts gives his farewell speech to Forestry Commission and Defra colleagues on the Forestry Commission’s Alice Holt lawn

Following the seminar there was a barbeque to mark the retirement of Alan Betts from the Forestry Commission. Staff at Sylva have worked closely with him over the last five years. Alan co-ordinated much of the research that was presented at the seminar and has contributed greatly to forestry and the Forestry Commission over the course of his career.


Good Woods - for people, for nature

Visit the Good Woods web page

The Good Woods project is a novel project aiming to breathe new life into UK woodlands. The project—a joint initiative between DIY giant B&Q, sustainability charity BioRegional and forestry charity The Sylva Foundation—will revive woodlands to provide environmental, social and economic benefits. For more information contact Amy Hammond: amy@lantern.uk.com


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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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Woodland Star Rating scheme launched

posted on May 21, 2013

A new scheme has been launched that we hope will encourage sustainable forest management in all woodlands, and promote greater understanding of good woodland stewardship among the general public.

The Woodland Star Rating is a self-assessment scheme based on the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS).  The scheme has been developed by the Sylva Foundation as part of the B&Q Good Woods project, with the support of BioRegional, B&Q, Lantern and others in the forestry sector.

Why has the scheme been created?

Attaining the best standard of management, measured against the UKFS, can seem a daunting prospect for many woodland owners. The Woodland Star Rating scheme is a light-touch approach than enables woodland owners to get a feel for what the UKFS involves and encourages them to identify areas of management that they should focus on in order to move in incremental steps towards a UKFS-compliant management plan.

The Woodland Star Rating scheme also provides a measurable indicator of the standard of woodland management being practised. Not only might this encourage woodland owners to improve their own standards, but allows others to understand the level of management being undertaken in a woodland.

How the Woodland Star Rating works

Woodland Star Rating form

Woodland Star Rating form, accessible online in the myForest website

The Woodland Star Rating scheme comprises thirty questions that a woodland owner must answer. The application process is accessible to any one who has a woodland owner account in myForest. More details are available online at www.sylva.org.uk/myforest/wsr

The questions, developed following a review of scientific evidence, are based directly upon the UK Forestry Standard, and these are matched to the ecosystem services (e.g. carbon storage, habitat provision, flood alleviation, products and other public benefits) that each of the specified management actions are deemed to enhance. A complex scoring system was developed that took all these factors into account, which was then simplified and is now presented in a user-friendly interface on the myForest Service website. The scheme is self assessment only and is not an assurance scheme in its own right as there is no independent verification in place.

Spreading the word

Woodland Star Rating certificate

An example of a Woodland Star Rating certificate

When the Woodland Owner has completed the questions, they are able to submit their data and can print their own certificate showing the Woodland Star Rating that they have achieved. This could be hung in the owner’s office or on a noticeboard near the entrance gate to the woodland.


The Woodland Star Rating scheme was developed as part of the Good Woods project.


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