Welcome to British Woodlands 2012
State of the Art Report
There has been a superb response to the survey - we have received over 2500 replies - with some very rich information coming from a wide variety of woodland owners and managers throughout Britain.
A one-day conference was held in Oxford on December 11th 2012, at which preliminary results of the survey were presented.
If our woodlands are to thrive, their owners need to take a more active approach to woodland management, supported by policies developed using robust evidence.
The British Woodlands 2012 project aims to tackle this priority by collaborating with partners with an interest in the state of British woodlands and forestry markets to conduct an extensive online survey that aims to reach some tens of thousands of woodland owners and managers across Britain.
The British Woodlands 2012 project 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.
Example of information provided by previous surveys
conclusions from 2005 survey included:
"There has been a deterioration of the financial performance of many woodlands since the 1960s to the point where management has been reduced or even suspended."
"More needs to be learned about linkages between private and public benefits, and the impacts of different approaches to forest management."
Independent Panel on Forestry
British Woodlands 2012 incorporated the Independent Panel on Forestry (IPF) survey of woodland owners and managers in England as a precursor survey. The IPF survey, which targeted owners in England, was set up to provide information for the IPF's final report which was published on July 4th.
Advisory Group members worked with RDI Associates and their colleagues to frame questions and design the survey, and the Sylva Foundation hosted the survey.
More information about the IPF survey and its linkage with the British Woodlands 2012 project can be read here.
Public benefits of British Woodlands 2012
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. The project aims to address this problem in a number of ways:
- Gauge the current level of sustainable forest management in British privately-owned woodlands.
- Assess the amount of land available for woodland creation.
- Assemble evidence of the level of public benefit - economic, environmental and social - that is delivered from private woodlands.
- 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.
- Assess the effectiveness / uptake of recent programs designed to promote rural economies, such as the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and Woodfuel WIG.
- Use the survey information to provide evidence that will contribute to improvements in these incentive mechanisms and thereby improve domestic timber markets.