Three major organisations serving public interests in forestry have come together, forming a powerful partnership to foster sustainable forest management in Britain. The Royal Forestry Society, Small Woods Association and the Sylva Foundation will be working together to support woodland owners in caring for their woodlands.
The majority (72 per cent) of all forested land in the UK is owned and managed by private woodland owners. Ensuring that our woodlands are resilient to future challenges ‒ including pests, pathogens and climate change ‒ while also being capable of supporting biodiversity and producing timber, requires the active engagement and support of owners. In England alone, around 47 per cent of woodlands are considered to be either un‐managed or under‐managed. Bringing these woodlands back into good condition through sustainable woodland management will be integral to growing a new ‘wood culture’, providing more jobs in the forestry sector, improving woodland habitats for nature and creating more places for people to exercise and enjoy the countryside.
The partnership reflects the different specialisms and interests of the three partner organisations. The Royal Forestry Society and Small Woods Association are both membership organisations; together supporting over 6000 woodland owners. The Sylva Foundation does not offer a membership but runs the myForest Service – a free web-based platform offering mapping and management tools for woodland owners and managers:www.myforest.org.uk.
From today, both existing and new users of the myForest Service will be eligible to join both the Royal Forestry Society and the Small Woods Association at a discounted rate. The offers are open to anyone who has signed up to the myForest Service, providing that they have not recently been a member of the organisation they wish to join. Full details about the offers are available via the myForest website:www.myforest.org.uk/membership-offer.
Dr Gabriel Hemery, chief executive of Sylva, said: “It is a significant step for Britain’s woodlands, and for those that care for them, that our organisations are able to work together in this way for the first time. By collaborating we are able to bring together the management tools of myForest while offering the benefits of two great membership organisations.”
Simon Lloyd, director of the RFS said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Sylva Foundation to be able to offer those new to woodland management the opportunity to combine the benefits of myForest’s online management planning tools with the opportunity visit woodlands and learn about all aspects of woodland management from the experiences of a network of 3500 RFS members. We believe well managed woods which produce sustainable quantities of quality timber, wood fuel and other products are better for nature conservation, better for people and better for the economy.”
Mike Bentley, chief executive of the Small Woods Association said: “We warmly welcome the chance to team up with Sylva and the RFS in this joint effort to help more people manage their woodlands. Sylva’s free woodland mapping and planning tool is already being used by some of our members to great effect and we are keen to offer our unique range of membership benefits to all other users of myForest. Small Woods are a friendly and approachable membership organisation offering support and advice to owners, practitioners and enthusiasts with different backgrounds, objectives and levels of experience. I am sure many myForest users will find us as their natural home and this is why we are very happy to offer them an introductory membership discount.”
About the partners
The Sylva Foundation is a charitable trust which supports forestry science, promotes trees and their management to the public, and supports the production and availability of home-grown timber. The Foundation’s charitable objects are to promote the conservation of the environment for the public benefit consistent with sustainable development principles. Further information: www.Sylva.org.uk.
The myForest Service is a free online platform that currently supports more than 1500 woodland owners, and a woodland area covering in excess of 29,000 hectares. It is provided by the Sylva Foundation atwww.myforest.org.uk.
The Small Woods Association (SWA) has a primary purpose of advancing education in the conservation of small woodlands and is the only UK wide charity with this sole purpose.
Small woodlands make up half of the UK’s woodland cover but many are under threat from modern development, tree pests, tree disease and from general neglect. With a rising membership of over 2100 hands-on members involved with the stewardship and care of over 25,000 hectares of small woodlands we have a very relevant audience for our message of promoting sustainable woodland management.
The Small woods vision is ‘To see small woods in the UK fully valued for the economic, environmental and social benefits they bring to a sustainable society’. See www.smallwoods.org.uk
The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) is the longest-established organisation for those actively involved in woodland management and forestry in the UK, and has been in existence for over 130 years.