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November 12, 2021

“All funded tree planting to be accompanied by a long term management plan”

We asked experts working with woods, trees and timber, about the future of Britain’s forests, and for policy suggestions to help them thrive.

Doug King Smith said that woodland restoration should be prioritised over planting, “and all planting is made to have a decent planting plan and management plan, because without that we’re just going to have more neglected woodlands.”

Over many years, and with the help of volunteers, Doug and his wife have been working to restore Hillyfield Woodland Farm. The Forestry Commission described his work as ‘a first class case study’ in small woodland management. 

When we asked about Doug’s hopes for the future he said “my hopes are that woodland culture is restored, which means people love wood, woodlands and all of the ecosystems that thrive within a healthy managed woodland. It’s a hope that we can see the woodlands that are neglected be restored. In Britain half of our woodlands are still under managed, or not managed at all. I hope that those woodlands are integrated into their communities with people deriving a living from working their woodlands, and the timber is used locally so we’re not importing so much timber.”

12 ideas to help Britain’s forests grow

During the 12 days of COP26, we shared 12 policy suggestions from experts, in this short film:

Click each link for more information about each of these ideas.

  1. Create a coherent plan to support nature across government
  2. Bring agriculture and forestry together into one ecological unit
  3. Deliver funding to turn policy into practice
  4. Value productive woodlands in creating good quality timber
  5. Grown in Britain policy for all timber used in public buildings
  6. Funding for 19% canopy cover by 2050
  7. Control grey squirrel numbers to protect young trees
  8. Implement a carbon tax to incentivise local production
  9. Always plant improved trees when planting trees for timber
  10. All school age children to have access to forest school
  11. Prioritise woodland restoration over tree planting
  12. All funded tree planting to be accompanied by a long term management plan

Many thanks to our guests:

Dr Jo Clark, Future Trees Trust,

Dr Gabriel Hemery, Sylva Foundation

Jez Ralph, Timber Strategies

Doug King Smith, the Hillyfield Woodland Farm

Alastair Driver, Rewilding Britain

Dougal Driver, Grown in Britain

Suzi Martineau, Tree Sisters & The Tree Conference

Graham Taylor, Pryor & Rickett Silvaculture

Chris Smaje & Cordelia Rowlatt, Small Farm Future & Vallis Veg

More about the series

“Wood for the Trees” is a series of short films by Vastern Timber managing director Tom Barnes, and nature based film maker Charly Le Marchant. Charly is a Somerset based forest school leader and film-maker, with experience leading community tree planting and forest gardening. Tom is a 4th generation owner of Vastern Timber, a family firm specialising in locally grown wood, and he hopes that his grandchildren’s generation can continue in the family business.

Although they come from very different perspectives, both are passionate about protecting British woodland.

To find out more about the future of Britain’s forests, Tom and Charly talked with people working with woods, trees, and timber. They discussed their hopes and fears for Britain’s forests, and how the trees we’re planting today will cope with the warming environments of the future.


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