Forests have key role to nature’s recovery
Wednesday 27th June 2012
Ahead of the publication of the Independent Panel on Forestry’s final report on the future of forestry in England (4 July), Northumberland Wildlife Trust sets out seven criteria it wants to see included to ensure nature’s recovery is secured.
Steve Lowe, Head of Conservation at Northumberland Wildlife Trust said: “We will judge the Panel’s report against our ‘criteria for success’. We want to see integration, better protection, reconnection and restoration of woodlands and a new remit for the Forestry Commission.
“There should be a Public Forest Estate with a new purpose, focused on nature, people’s connection to nature and the delivery of other public benefits.
He concluded: “We intend to engage with the Government to ensure any positive recommendations are acted upon, and to strengthen those which may not go far enough for wildlife.”
Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s seven criteria:
1. A new remit for the Forestry Commission
Northumberland Wildlife Trust wants to see a shift in the Forestry Commission so that its primary focus is on nature and the provision of other public benefits. The Public Forest Estate should be an exemplar of sustainable management. This will require a change in the Forestry Commission’s statutory remit.
Forestry should be part of a coherent strategy for the natural environment: woods being one part of a resilient ecological network. Forestry policy and grants should be integrated with other land use and management policies and incentives.
3. Reconnection of people with the natural environment
People’s access to the Public Forest Estate (PFE) should be protected. Government should also create more opportunities for people to enjoy and be inspired by woodlands and forests outside the Public Forest Estate.
4. Reconnection of woodlands at a landscape-scale
Natural regeneration and tree planting should be encouraged to buffer, extend and link existing woodlands. In all cases, a ‘right tree in the right place’ principle should be adopted.
5. Restoration of existing woodlands
Existing woodlands that could be richer in wildlife should be brought to life by appropriate, sustainable woodland management. This can increase habitat quality and help to reverse declines in woodland wildlife.
6. Restoration of open habitats under plantation forestry
Areas of lowland heathland, meadow and other internationally important open habitats planted with conifers must be restored with urgency.
Steve Lowe concluded: “The Public Forest Estate represents the single biggest opportunity to implement the recommendations made in last year’s Natural Environment White Paper, including the Lawton Review. It is critical that this opportunity is taken.”
The Independent Panel on Forestry
The Independent Panel on Forestry was established on 17 March 2011 by the Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman MP, to advise government on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England. The Panel is chaired by the Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool. Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, sits on the Panel in a personal capacity. The panel’s final report will be published on Wednesday 4 July 2012.
The Wildlife Trusts have engaged with the Panel at every opportunity. Our recommendations to the Panel reflect our vision for A Living Landscape and enshrine the thinking about nature’s recovery in the Lawton Review and Natural Environment White Paper. The Wildlife Trusts submitted a response to the Panel’s call for views, which can be downloaded at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/living-landscape/woodland-and-forestry/independent-panel-forestry-england
The Natural Environment White Paper
The Government’s White Paper, published in June 2011, emphasises the intrinsic, economic and social value of the natural environment. It also endorses the need for a landscape-scale approach to securing nature’s recovery.
Tagged with: Living Landscapes