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.
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
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org