“British foresters are now making great efforts to restore our lost native woodland. The Forestry Commission is in the vanguard of this movement.”
Dr George Peterken MBE, 2002 – Ecologist & woodland specialist
“The Forestry Commission’s Broadleaves’ Review in 1985 and amendments
to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1985 that gave the Forestry Commission
a new duty to take account of environmental issues, marked a turning point
in post-war forestry policy. There was no longer an overwhelming emphasis
on timber production through afforestation with exotic conifers as the main
purpose for forestry in the UK.”
Wildlife & Countryside Link – Making the Link 30 years review
During the public outcry over the Government’s declared proposals to dispose of the public woods and forests managed by the Forestry Commission, particular concerns were raised about sites classed as Ancient Woodland – both those areas most closely meeting that definition and also the larger area in process of, or awaiting restoration. Some commentators raised concerns about the risks to these if sold on or managed by others than the Forestry Commission, but also it was implied that the latter was ‘failing’ in its stated intention and duty to restore the larger body of Ancient Woodland damaged through earlier plantings, especially with conifers.
Therefore, Our Forests feel it is helpful to ascertain the facts about the state of Ancient Woodland under the Forestry Commission’s current management – and put those facts out into the public domain and so to contribute to the ongoing debate about the future of our public woods and forests. Hence this summary briefing.