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RFS acts to future proof woodland

The RFS supports and encourages a healthy woodland sector. We believe ecological resilience must go hand in hand with the long-term financial sustainability of our woods. Our long-term aspiration is to see more woodland brought back into management. We believe that well managed woods will adapt better to a changing climate, and support both woodland ecology and wider landscape adaptation, compared to unmanaged or under-managed woodland.

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Our intended outcomes for 2020

  • A substantial increase in the proportion of woodland under management, supported by well- informed advice and encouraged by strong domestic demand and prices for UK produced wood products.
  • Diversity of species and genetics within species, including non-native species, accepted as the norm not the exception and based on best available evidence.
  • More widespread application of sound silvicultural and ecological practices consistent with principles of adaptation and production of quality timber.
  • A substantial reduction in the adverse impact of pests such as the grey squirrel and deer on woodlands as a result of more widespread application of better control methods and landowner collaboration.
  • More skilled people seeking careers at all levels in forestry to support the increased level of activity which this journey demands.

What we are doing

  • Our Excellence in Forestry Resilient Woods Award  identifies examples of exemplary practice.
  • We are sharing knowledge through case studies  which feature woodlands planting for resilience.
  • Our 2018 conference with The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) on 30 October 2018 considers The Future for English Woodland and in 2019 we are holding a two-day conference Evolving the Forest - details will be available shortly. In 2006 a RFS and Woodland Trust national conference: Resilient Woodlands: meeting the challenges, raised awareness of the issues and offered practical advice to all those with an active interest in the care of trees and woods.
  • Our Quarterley Journal of Forestry (QJF) has run a series of species profiles curated by Dr Peter Savill on alternative forest tree species. These have been made freely available
  • The RFS, with FC England, Forest Research and Sylva Foundation, is a partner in Silvifuture, a network established to promote and share knowledge about novel tree species across Britain. An online database enables woodland owners and forestry professionals to add, search and share information of more than sixty tree species, many of which are less well known or tested in Britain.
  • The RFS owns three demonstration woodlands. They are managed to balance commercial, environmental and public access objectives. Hockeridge and Battram woods have a wide mix of conifer and broadleaf species and our Leighton redwood grove is one of the largest and oldest of its kind in the country. All three represent an excellent research and learning opportunity for woodland owners engaged in adapting their woods to climate change.
  • The RFS has established a scheme to support new woodland owners to bring their woods back into management by offering them the opportunity to meet with experienced woodland managers to provide initial advice and guidance.
  • The RFS disseminates knowledge and insight about all aspects of woodland management online, in print (QJF) and face to face (80+ woodland events a year). This knowledge transfer process regularly features news, research and information about all aspects of the adaptation challenge.
  • We encouraged members to take part in the 2015 British Woodlands Survey on Resilience and subsequent surveys. The case studies on the right demonstrated how important it was to take part. 
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