gathering insight and intelligence about the challenges affecting woodland to influence policy and change practice on the ground

Forestry policy and practice must be guided by real evidence about what's actually happening in our woodlands – to trees, to soil, to wildlife and with the people who manage them. Sylva designs and carries out original research – often in close collaboration with some of the 40 or so other organisations working in the forestry sector in the UK.

Our work follows five themes:

  1. woodland condition and silviculture
  2. environmental change
  3. woodland ownership motivations and information
  4. natural resource economics
  5. strategic and cross-cutting evidence and analysis.

Conducted and produced by forestry experts Sylva research is independent, inclusive, trusted and unbiased. Our ability to involve the thousands of woodland owners who map and manage their woodlands through Sylva's myForest service means we're able to discover not only the current challenges facing our woodlands but also the attitudes and activities of the people who care for them.

Our research projects currently include;

  • The British Woodlands Survey Series: the only independent survey in the UK reaching private woodland owners and examining the condition and management of UK woodland.
  • Stewardship science: including Living Ash, a five year project funded by DEFRA and work in collaboration with the Deer Initiative.
  • Commissioned research: original projects commissioned by other organisations in the sector who share our objectives. Current work includes Naturetrade – funded by EU Life+ and ongoing projects such as The Climate Change Accord and subsequent action plan for Climate Change Adaptation. This commissioned work generates funds to support our charitable projects.

The Sylva Research Library contains reports from all our projects as well as papers and articles in which Sylva foresters have been involved. We are proud to be associated with the Global Forest Information Service, through which our publications are promoted to the worldwide forestry community.

"Sylva Foundation is close to woodland owners, has expertise in forestry and really understands the science. That's a unique blend of skills." Professor Kathy Willis, Director, Biodiversity Institute, University of Oxford

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our science activities