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Woodlands are attracting ever-increasing interest across Britain, but little is known with any real certainty about the vast majority (72%) of woods that are held in private hands, rather than those managed by the Forestry Commission.
Now North Yorkshire woodland owners are being asked to take part in a new national survey which has been launched by leading forestry and land-related organisations aiming to find out more about the extent of sustainable management practices in Britain.
• an extensive online survey has been launched that aims to reach some thousands of woodland owners and managers across Britain.
• the survey is seeking answers to questions relating to ownership, woodland management and markets.
• the extent of sustainable management practices in Britain will be ascertained by asking the owners and managers of private woodland about their attitudes to current ecological, social and economic challenges, and the management strategies they adopt in their woodlands as a response to these challenges.
• The survey also includes public woodlands that are not owned by the Forestry Commission, such as council-owned woodlands.
• the survey continues an important series of surveys undertaken by the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge since 1963. The 2012 survey will expand on the series by reaching many more and diverse woodland owners and managers, to investigate and ultimately help unlock perceived barriers to sustainable woodland management in Britain.
• the survey is co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation with support from Confor, Country Land & Business Association, Forestry Commission, Institute of Chartered Foresters, Natural England, PEFC, Royal Forestry Society, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Woodland Trust.
Co-ordinator of the British Woodlands 2012 survey at the Sylva Foundation Dr Gillian Petrokofsky said:
“If private owners are unable or unwilling to pursue some of the longstanding private goals from their woods, almost inevitably some of the highly valued public benefits will be lost. We aim to gauge the current level of sustainable forest management in British woodlands, together with evidence of the level of public benefit – economic, environmental and social – that is delivered from private woodlands.”
Dr Petrokofsky continued “We also want to assess the amount of land available for woodland creation which is a common goal across Britain. At the same time we want to find out why owners of unmanaged woodland are not taking up current forest management grants or engaging with other regulatory systems that could improve sustainable forest management.”
The survey is available online at: http://bit.ly/BritishWoodlands2012 and background information at www.sylva.org.uk/BW2012. The survey will stay open until late August (check the survey page for up-to-date information). A conference is planned to be held in Oxford in December to present and discuss the results of the survey.
Notes for editors
For media enquiries and to interview Sylva Foundation staff, please contact: Dr Gillian Petrokofsky, Tel. 01865 408018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sylva Foundation is a tree and forestry charity, working to revive Britain’s wood culture (www.Sylva.org.uk) . It works in three main areas, covering science, education and forestry. It runs an independent think-tank Forestry Horizons (www.ForestryHorizons.eu), which is the origin of the British Woodlands 2012 survey. Its education initiatives include the OneOak project (www.OneOak.info) and TreeWatch, a citizen science initiative exploring tree health (www.TreeWatch.com). Sylva’s myForest service (www.myForest.org.uk) supports almost 600 woodland owners across Britain in managing over 13,000 hectares of woodland, and encourages the use of home-grown wood.
The context for this survey:
There are believed to be some 93,000 private woodland owners in Britain.
Over half of Britain’s woodlands are believed to be unmanaged or potentially neglected.
Timber is Britain’s sixth largest import, including 1 million tonnes of hardwoods imported every year.