A major report has been released today: The State of the UK’s Forests, Woods and Trees: Perspectives from the forestry and woodland sector. It marks the International Year of Forests in 2011.
The State of the UK’s Forests, Woods and Trees report was led by the Woodland Trust and written in collaboration with 19 other organisations across the forestry sector, including contributions from the Sylva Foundation.
The report consists of six chapters:
- Forest Cover in the UK
- Productivity and sustainable forest management
- Ecosystem services
The report concludes that much evidence exists, and some of the policy is in place, to support what is needed: an expansion of the forest resource, protection and restoration of its most valuable natural assets, re-invigoration of the economic woodland and forest sector, delivery of environmental and social benefits, and delivery of resilient, functional landscapes. The biggest challenge is to drive this policy into practice.
The report points to a number of needs to achieve the above:
- the need to recognise and enhance the diversity in form, function, and use of our woods.
- the need for joined-up thinking with supportive government policies that embed forests, woods and trees and enable collaboration within the sector.
- the need for public support and an awareness of the benefits of woodland and why its protection and expansion is essential. People’s connection with forests, exemplified by the strong emotional reaction to the threat of losing the public forest estate earlier in 2011 needs to be deepened to a real understanding of and support for forests, woods and trees as working landscapes and as crucial habitats for wildlife.