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
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
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.