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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

English Forests

As I'm sure we all know times they are a tough and the government are proposing many measures to deal with the budget deficit.

One suggestion the government has is to sell off Forests.

During world war II large swathes of confiers were planted for timber. The Forestry Commission is now in the process of chopping this down and restoring much of the broadleaf woodland such as oak, beech ash and lime.

Bodies such as the Woodland Trust are concerned that if sales go ahead without any protection for ancient woodland in place, these areas will return to commercial timber or felled to make way for development.

The government are already committed to sell off 15 per cent of the estate and is expected to increase this number.

Personally I think this is short sighted, the forests are a national asset and frankly shouldn't be sold for a short term gain depriving future generations the access and pleasure of them.

Also we need to be clear that much of our wildlife is evolved to use broad leaf woodlands.

The Woodland Trust has a petition against this here.


holdingmoments said...

I can't believe this government is even thinking of doing this.
Signed; along with the one by 38 degrees.
Let's hope they see sense, and abandon this stupid idea.

Ragged Robin said...

Its a horrifying proposal, Pete. I've signed the Woodland Trust petition and also the one by 38 degrees.

Tricia said...

Horrifying sums it up!! I can't add more to what Keith and Caroline have already said. Also signed both.


Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced that this campaign has anything to do with nature conservation.

The Forestry Commission owns 22% of English woodland, but owns only 9% of English broadleaved woodland. As the huge 'heritage woods' of New Forest, Forest of Dean etc are exempt, essentially all of the woods under this proposal are commercial non-native conifer plantations.

This proposal will not result in the wholesale destruction of woodland - the Forestry Commission control the felling of all private woodland, as they regulate the timber industry by issuing permits.

91% of native woodland is already in private ownership, and private owners are responsible for the vast majority (86%) of the 36% increase in native broadleaved woodland between 1980 and 1998.

Upton Wood in Cambridgeshire is a former FC woodland, which was native Oak-Ash woodland in the 1950s until it was grubbed up by the Forestry Commission and planted with conifers. It was then sold to a private owner in the 1980s, during the last big wave of FC privatisation, and is now managed to restore the native woodland. It has a higher density of some scarce woodland bird species than nearby Monks Wood. The owner permits access on request and prohibits hunting.
So private ownership is not necessarily a bad thing for these conifer plantations, as it can take them out of production for the benefit of wildlife. 60% of private owners are private individuals, and only 0.7% are timber companies (stats from the FC's National Inventory of Woodland & Trees for England.

The above was not tub-thumped from the Daily Mail.

Pete said...

you're back!!

actually I kind of agree. A lot depends on the provisions and protections that are put in place by the govt upon sell off. A point made by the national trust.

a lot will depend on the owner and I am certainly not against the private ownership of property. There's a farm in Norfolk (Abbey Farm) for instance that does a sterling job. and many private estates owned by the landed gentry do as well. Noblese Oblige perhaps as opposed to the new money?

anyway the Daily Mail seem to be into Govt bashing of late :D

. said...

I have a favourite spot in the only scrap of woodland worth driving 15 miles to near Plymouth. The owner is said to be friendly but obviously loves shooting pheasants. Anyway, the acre of trees had a some elf cups last spring of a lesser seen variety. A track running through was water logged so I moved stranded toad spawn in and all went well. Newt larvae followed. Now the track has been widened 3-fold for no good reason, removing large trees in the process and flattening the rut pools into mud. I've never seen anyone use the track. It must be solely for the annual pheasant shoot and only runs about 1/3 mile. That's privatization.