Industry News

Woodland Trust to plant 4 million trees in 2016

The Woodland Trust - UK largest woodland conservation charity - has pledged to plant 4 million trees in 2016, 1.5 million more than in 2015.

Whether put into practise, the plan would create 2,000 ha of new woodlands in the UK.

As announced in the Annual Review 2015, the Woodland Trust will also "fight to preserve the 588 ancient woods currently at risk from inappropriate development and grow a 250-strong network of volunteer 'threat spotters' to stick up for trees and woods".

Thirdly, the Trust has committed to restore 3,000 ha of degraded ancient woodland, "gradually thinning non-native conifer plantations so that broadleaf trees and wildlife can bounce back".

The Trust already owns more than 1,000 woods and is planning to expand its estate by almost 10% a year on average. The charity will also work to create 10 geographical 'focus areas' to target regions where "we are able to make the biggest possible impact on woodland habitats and wildlife"

Read the Woodland Trust Annual Review 2015 and the 10-year strategic plan.


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EU land and forestry policy can help Europe be more ambitious on climate, new Fern study claims

A new study by the Oeko-Institut and the forest and rights NGO Fern suggests the EU could set a positive precedent for international climate policy if it developed a separate pillar with its own target for the so called ‘LULUCF’ sector.

LULUCF (Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry) is one of the most hotly debated topics of the EU’s climate and energy package. The European Commission will shortly publish a proposal for how to integrate LULUCF in the climate package.

According to Fern, creating a separate pillar would prevent the EU from using temporary carbon removals from forests and land to dilute the Effort Sharing Decision.

Hannes Boettcher lead author of the study said: “LULUCF is at a crossroads – depending on how rules are set and where it is integrated in the overall package, it could either increase or decrease the EU’s greenhouse gas target. In this study, we suggest developing a separate pillar with specific criteria the EU could use to design a meaningful target to incentivise better climate performance in LULUCF.”

Fern’s forest and climate campaigner, Hannah Mowat, added: “As every year is hotter than the last, Fern believes we need action on all fronts, reducing emissions and restoring degraded landscapes. Our policies need to reflect that. This needs to be done with and by local communities who are affected by land use decisions and have the right to be involved.”

To read the study in full click here.


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Confor publishes EU discussion paper to foster debate in Westminster

The Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) has published a discussion paper - available here - highlighting the key issues the forestry sector needs to consider ahead of the EU referendum in June.

The paper, written by Guy Watt of John Clegg Consulting, has been discussed today at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry in Westminster.

The document examines six main areas where decisions made at European level have direct or indirect impacts on the forestry and timber industry: - Direct Financial Support from the EU; - Regulations, Red Tape & Bureaucracy;- Trade; - Plant Health; - Labour Market & Controlling UK Borders; - The Economy.

The discussion paper also gives consideration to the data coming from the Confor poll on Brexit. According to the Confederation online survey, 52 per cent of the voters is currently in favour of remaining a member of the European Union, while 48 per cent says they would prefer to leave.

Almost one-third (31 per cent) of the survey participants thinks to not have received enough information on the EU referendum - and even the discussion paper's author concludes that "there are some facts for people to use, but there are also plenty of unknowns".

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, commented: "This short paper sets down the issues in a dispassionate and straightforward way. We know that our members have a range of views on whether the UK should remain part of, or leave, the European Union - and we also know that some of them think there is not enough information available to make a clear decision. That's why we commissioned this discussion paper, which will hopefully provide some helpful background and assist them in making an informed decision."


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Forestry Commission publishes 25-year Softwood availability forecast for UK

The Forestry Commission has recently released a NFI (National Forest Inventory) summary report of the 25-year forecast of softwood availability for the UK.

The Forecasts, covering the period 2017-2041, are calculated by taking the ‘current’ woodland structure and applying the Forestry Commission’s growth and yield models to grow the woodland into the future. By applying a range of management scenarios (describing harvesting and restocking regimes) The Forestry Commission has forecasted the future timber availability and the corresponding growing stock in the woodland.

According to the report, softwood availability will change over the period in exam; it is expected to increase from 18.1 million m3 per annum in 2017–21 to 19.3 million m3 per annum in 2027–31 before reducing to 16.8 million m3 per annum in 2037–41.

In terms of volume, the forecast of softwood availability for the UK forest estate is an average of 18.3 million m3 of softwood timber per annum over the 25-year period. The forecast for England is an average of 4.1 million m3 per annum; for Scotland 11.9 million m3 ; for Wales 1.8 million m3 ; and for Northern Ireland 0.5 million m3 . 

These figures assume that FC/NRW/FS estate and Private sector estate profiles are different. Over the forecast period, the Forestry Commission (FC), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Forest Service (FS) [FC/NRW/FS] estate will show an overall reduction in forecast availability  with an average of 5.5 million m3 per annum for the next 25 years, if existing forest management plans are followed and production is not constrained.

On the contrary, over the next 25 years, the Private sector estate will experience an overall increase. The upturn will run for the first half of the forecast period and will be followed by a decline in the second half of the period, with annual availability in the last period (2037–41) returning to a level similar to the 2017–21 period. The potential availability of softwood timber from the Private sector estate for the UK is expected to reach an average of 12.2 million m3 per annum. 

For the complete report click here.


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Confor seeks members' views on Brexit through online survey

The Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) has launched an online survey - available here - to collect forestry and wood industries' views on Brexit.

The results of the poll will be revealed at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry (APPGF) at Westminster on April 19.

The APPGF will discuss how a vote to leave the EU might impact on the sector, with two MPs speaking up for each side of the argument. MPs from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will participate in the discussion.

“It is clear that there is a range of opinions across the sector on the future of the EU,” said Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor. “We are keen to get an idea of where the balance of opinion lies.”

Confor is also producing a report, written by Guy Watt of John Clegg Consulting Ltd, outlining what the implications of a vote by the British people to leave the European Union might be for the forestry and wood sector.

“There are clearly a number of areas where businesses in our sector are impacted by the decisions of the European Union, such as regulations and subsidy payments and by the operation of a single European market,” added Mr Goodall. “Predicting national and international trends is not easy and there will be implications for our sector whatever decision the British people take."


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