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RFS joins novel trees partnership

 The RFS has joined a partnership supporting SilviFuture – an online database promoting and sharing knowledge about novel timber tree species growing in real forestry conditions. It is also backing a UK-wide drive to ask woodland owners to share useful information on the SilviFuture website on more than 60 lesser known or ‘novel’ tree types, many of which have been growing, almost forgotten, among more popular timber trees in private and public woodlands around the country.

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Simon Lloyd, RFS Development Director: The RFS has joined a partnership to support SilviFuture

RFS Development Director Simon Lloyd says: “With increased challenges to forestry from climate change, pests and disease, it is vital that woodland owners share knowledge about trees species which may prove resilient and become the timber crops of the future.”

The SilviFuture database, created by The Sylva Foundation, The Silvanus Trust, Forest Research and Forestry Commission England, will be an invaluable tool to foresters looking to decide which species to plant to develop resilient and financially viable woodlands.

The RFS will be entering data from its Coast Redwoods in Leighton, mid Wales; data on some of the 50 trees species at its Hockeridge and Pancake Woods on the edge of the Chilterns, and from young new woodlands at Battram in the National Forest where plantings began in 1999. Forest Research and others are also adding their data.

Simon Lloyd adds: “We are urging all members to do the same, and we are exploring the potential for bursaries that would provide support for forestry students to help private woodland owners add data to the site. This could provide valuable work-experience for students and save woodland owners time and effort to record their data.”

As the database grows, foresters will be able to search by species using a range of parameters such as ‘durable timber’ or ‘poor drainage’ plus site data  such as altitude, aspect or soil and mensuration data including tree height, dbh or stocking density.

The more data uploaded, the more the database will prove of use to foresters in the future.

We will keep you updated as the SilviFuture database grows and users benefit from it!