The Independent Panel on Forestry, who advise government on forest and woodland policy in England, call for the benefits of England’s woods and forests to be re-valued for all the services they provide in a report published today.
The full report is available here http://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/reports
Why are woodlands important?
Woods and forests provide recreation for people, and also provide clean air, clean water, habitats for wildlife, lock up carbon, shading in cities - even helping in flood reduction.
Wood is the raw material for timber frame buildings, furniture, flooring, fuel, and of course paper.
The report highlights the ‘triple bottom line’ that forestry delivers and calls for a revival of a woodland culture that appreciates how important trees are for people, for nature and the economy.
The report highlights that the public forest estate is the single largest provider of outdoor leisure and recreation in England. And it is also the single largest timber producer, as well as being a vital habitat for wildlife.
The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, said “The Panel’s work over the last year has shown that our woodlands, managed sustainably, can offer solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing society today. We have consulted widely, visited woods and forests around the country and read over 42,000 submissions.
There is untapped potential within England’s woodlands to create jobs, to sustain skills and livelihoods, to improve the health and wellbeing of people and to provide better and more connected places for nature.
Most importantly, the public forest estate needs to be free from the electoral cycle, for trees have long lifecycles - decisions taken now are looking to a future that is 50, or even 100, years down the line. And the bodies managing the public forest estate and advising woodland owners need to evolve and be free to become much more entrepreneurial. We recommend the expansion of woodland cover from 10% to 15% by 2060.”