Woodland Creation

Working on two Woodland Creation projects, the Sylva Foundation is delivering both a Woodland Creation Test and Trial (in partnership with the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust) to support the development of Defra’s Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme in England; and a Woodland Creation Pilot (in partnership with Scottish Forestry and Croft Woodland Project) in Scotland.


Sylva Foundation is developing a new Creation Plan, mapping and decision support tools and where possible incorporating requirements from grant schemes to support stakeholders in designing and implementing new woodlands that meet the UK Forestry Standard.

Ultimately, Sylva Foundation has three main aims in leading this project. We aim to ensure that:

  1. All new woodlands created not only meet minimum legal requirements but demonstrate good practice;
  2. All new woodlands are created with purpose and long-term goals to support sustainable development;
  3. All new woodlands created will remain in good condition and managed according to standards of the UKFS.

The Sylva Foundation project team is working on two key elements:

  1. Developing a new Woodland Creation Plan to support the design and establishment of woodlands which are compliant with the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)
  2. Designing and building a new online platform to support woodland creation, including the provision of innovative mapping tools, and the collection of all information necessary by landowners who wish to apply for grants and permissions.

Progress to Date

Having concluded the first year of the Test and Trial project, we have received a great deal of feedback which will be used in the further development of the Woodland Creator tool, as well as feeding into improvements for the second phase of our Test and Trial and our Pilot study in Scotland.

As part of the Test and Trial, a end of year one report was submitted to Defra, a pdf copy of this can be found below.



Sylva Foundation is well-known for its innovative land-management platforms including the Woodland Manager tool in myForest (used by more than 8,000 owners and land managers, mapping over 130,000 hectares of woodlands across the United Kingdom),alongside the Woodland Wildlife Toolkit, Deer Manager, and the online auction platform NatureBid.


A core partnership with the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust has been of significant importance while carrying out the two-year test a trial project in England. Working with practitioners based in the Northern Forest area, a collaborative co-design approach has been taken to develop both the tools and services practitioners require for successful planning and implementation of woodland creation projects. These will be hosted on the new myForest Woodland Creation platform. During 2021 we will be refining and retesting outputs with stakeholders across England in a second tree planting season.


As we begin our pilot project in Scotland with support from Scottish Forestry and Woodland Trust Scotland (through the Croft Woodland Project), we seek to expand our co-design process refining existing tools while developing more specialised and contextual support, allowing landowners to meet all requirements necessary when applying to carry out a woodland creation project in Scotland. Understanding the difference in requirements based on user location and providing the appropriate tools, templates, and guidance is a key component in producing a successful addition to the myForest platform.

If you are interested in taking part in the tests and trials, or have other questions, please contact the Sylva project team Paul Orsi or George Dennison using our Contact page.

Get Involved

As we move into the next phase of testing, we are now seeking interest from landowners and agents interested in testing and providing feedback on our Woodland Creation platform. A good range in size, purpose and location of schemes is required so that the tool can be tested as to how well it supports varying needs.

If you would like to get involved in our ELMs test and trial (England only), please complete our sign-up form.

An introduction to the myForest Woodland Creator Tool - a background of the myForest platform, the big idea behind the ELMs test and trial, followed by a demonstration of the Beta site.