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Tree Charter launch - celebrating the incalculable benefits of woods and trees
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"It is in our collective best interest for everybody in this country to value managed woodland. We currently fall well short of this aspiration", so said RFS Chief Executive Simon Lloyd speaking at today's launch of the Tree Charter.

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Simon Lloyd, top, celebrating the benefits of woods for all and , below, children from St Peter's CoE School Market Bosworth plant a Tree Charter oak at Battram

The Charter for Trees, Woods and People, signed by more than 70 organisations,  sets out the principles for a society in which people and trees can stand stronger together. Launched in Lincoln Castle on 6 November 2017, the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest, the Tree Charter is rooted in more than 60,000 ‘tree stories’ gathered from people of all backgrounds across the UK.

The RFS has been part of theTree Charter steering group and speaking at the launch Simon Lloyd said: "Wouldn’t it be brilliant is everybody understood that responsibly managed woods of all varieties generate multiple benefits which are complementary and not in conflict as they did at the time of the Charter 800 years ago? That active management is essential to improve the health of our woods and safeguard them from the threats of pests, disease and climate change? That these things will only happen with a strong and well supported forest industry, as there was in 1217 albeit in a very different guise?"

And he added: "Well managed woods are wonderful things of beauty, but they do not happen by chance. They are the product of great skill and knowledge accumulated and practiced over generations. For our woodlands to thrive in future we must nurture, develop and value forestry skills and ensure knowledge is widely shared. We must take pride in the world class research taking place in the UK to improve woodland resilience and productivity and demand it is bolstered.

" It is for these reasons that the RFS applauds the Woodland Trust for initiating the Charter and engaging such a wide community of interest in communicating the incalculable benefits of woods and trees to the general public. The RFS has engaged strongly in the development and promotion of the Charter.

"We hope and expect the Charter will:

  • raise the profile of forestry as a force for good in the public consciousness,
  • generate pride in what we produce from our woods, and a demand for more and
  • create a more supportive environment for increasing the rate productive woodland creation, bringing neglected woods back into management, and adapting the structure and composition of our woods to a changing climate

"If the Charter contributes to the achievement of these aims, it will be hugely worthwhile and valuable both for forestry and the country."

To help celebrate the Tree Charter launch, children of St Peter's Church of England Primary School, Market Bosworth, taking part in RFS Teaching Trees, helped plant an oak tree at the RFS woodlands in Battram, part of the National Forest in Leicestershire.