The Sylva Foundation welcomes the report released today by the Independent Panel on Forestry (download). It is particularly heartening to see a core recommendation for a vibrant future for England’s forests and woods being articulated as ‘A woodland culture for the 21st Century’, with the phrase ‘a revitalised woodland culture‘ used on page 17.
After all, the Sylva Foundation’s core purpose and mission is reviving Britain’s wood culture.
The report suggests: “We want to see a new woodland culture in which woodlands and wood as a material and fuel are highly valued and sought after. To achieve this requires people to think and behave differently, such that woodlands and wood products are used and appreciated in everyday life. It means getting more woods into sustainable management. This will require investment to motivate woodland owners to do things differently, and also to develop supply chains for woodfuel and timber in more parts of the country.”
This recommendation has deep resonance with the work that Sylva has been undertaking through our OneOak education project (www.OneOak.info) with the general public, while our work supporting many hundreds of woodland owners in bringing woodlands into management across the country through our myForest service (www.myForest.org.uk) is already producing tangible results. The recommendation for a specific target to increase the number of woodlands managed according the UK Forestry Standard from 50% to 80% in the next 10 years is welcomed in particular. The British Woodlands Survey (www.sylva.org.uk/BW2012) that will be launched next week will aim to provide much-needed evidence to help explore further many of the issues raised by the Panel and we look forward to sharing our findings with Government and other stakeholders. This survey will build on the work that Sylva undertook in a survey on behalf of the Panel referred to in page 37 of the report.
It is hoped that the Panel’s call for a Wood Industry Action Plan is picked up by Government, and we hope to be able to feed our activities and vision into this in the future.
Newly appointed chair of trustees, Dr Nick Brown, commented:
I’m pleased to see that the report recognises that woodland management is essential in order to deliver public benefits. Most private woodland in England is unmanaged and fails to deliver the quantity and quality of benefits that the nation needs. It is encouraging that the IFP support the Sylva view that it is a priority to encourage woodland owners to manage their woods in ways which will help us cope with the economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st Century. The report recognises that in order for their (and our) vision of a woodland culture for the 21st Century to be sustained for the long term, woodland owners need to generate income from the public benefits they deliver.