Over 110 people, most of whom were woodland owners and managers, attended the British Woodlands 2012 conference in Oxford on 11th December. The conference was co-ordinated by Sylva’s Alistair Yeomans and Dr Gill Petrokofsky, and supported by a very wide array of partners.
The conference provided a voice for the woodland owner and presented some preliminary results of the survey that was undertaken over the Summer. Some 2500 respondents to the survey, owning 1.75 million hectares, told us that they on the whole tend to run their woodlands at a significant financial loss. The financial loss currently experienced is more than at any time over the last 50 years. Nevertheless, the majority do not receive any grant income from the Forestry Commission, yet also have a Management Plan that meets the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS).
Sylva will now begin detailed analyses of the data that will be used to produce a number of different reports, including a report to RICS, a straightforward summary on our website, and a scientific article. We hope to provide access to the conference talks as soon as possible – again on our website. If you wish to be kept up to date with news Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter.
Sylva’s Chief Executive Dr Gabriel Hemery was interviewed about the conference on BBC Radio 4 Farming Today. Although the journalists were primarily interested in actions necessary to combat Chalara fraxinea, Gabriel made the point that we need to know more about the motivations and actions of woodland owners across Britain, and about their woodlands; which after all account for the majority of the woodland resource in the country. The interview can be accessed for the next seven days on the Farming Today website – click here.
We are extremely grateful to the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford for hosting the conference.A huge thanks are due to our speakers:
- Professor Nicholas Harberd, Dept. Plant Sciences, University of Oxford
- Dr Derek Nicholls, Dept. Land Economy, University of Cambridge
- Mike Townsend, Woodland Trust
- James Ogilvie, Forestry Commission Scotland
- Robert Penn, BBC4 Presenter
- Dr David Boshier, Earth Trust
- Chris Read, Natural England
- Dr Nick Brown, University of Oxford
- Sarah Walters, Alvecote Wood
- Professor Kathy Willis, University of Oxford
- John Deakin, Crown Estate
- Jim Matthews, Woodland Owner and Entrepreneur
We are indebted to our survey partners: RICS Education Trust, Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Institute of Chartered Foresters, Country Land & Business Association, Royal Forestry Society, Dept. Plant Sciences University of Oxford, Dept. Land Economy University of Cambridge, Confor, Small Woods.