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Looking after woodlands in The National Forest: Round 2 of National Forest Woodland Management Scheme now open

Thursday, 26th June 2014

Following a successful pilot scheme over the winter of 2013/14, the National Forest Company has opened a further round of its innovative woodland management grant scheme, to promote the effective management of woodlands within the 200 square miles of The National Forest.

The grant scheme is available only for woodlands in The National Forest, and is targeted at the management of 15 – 23 year old woodlands.

The National Forest Company (NFC) is responsible for the creation of The National Forest, which spans part of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Over eight million trees have been planted since the inception of the forest in the early 1990s and, including the existing mature woodland, the forest now comprises several hundred woodlands, with many more trees to plant.

All woodlands need management, whether it is for the production of commercial timber, for leisure and recreation use or to be of greatest benefit for wildlife. As the first woodlands to be planted in the forest approach first thinnings (the first stage of management), the NFC is working to prioritise woodland management as well as woodland creation.

The pilot Woodland Management Grant scheme offered 23 grants, covering 700 ha of woodland. The work funded included ride management, pruning potential timber trees, the removal of redundant rabbit fencing and tree guards, installing bird/bat and owl boxes and establishing a number of woodland management plans.

“We were very pleased with the response to our initial pilot scheme to promote woodland management in The National Forest,” said Charles Robinson, Woodland Management Officer for the National Forest Company. “Management is important in order to maximize the forestry, landscape, biodiversity and recreation value of each of the woodlands in the forest and we are working to develop the local woodland economy. It is important to develop markets for the timber that will be produced through these first thinnings and onward as the woodlands mature.”

Charles continued: “We are aiming to develop a resilient forest that can adapt to climate change, help to lock-up carbon and is robust in the face of challenges faced by pests and diseases. This grant scheme offers timely assistance to our landowners to help us achieve this.”

The grants can offer up to 75% of fixed costs, depending on the work proposed.

The woodland management programme encourages good practice amongst all woodland owners in the forest and is equally applicable to community groups who may be interested in taking on the management of woodland near where they live.

For more information see http://www.nationalforest.org/woodlands/woodlandmanagement/