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November 2, 2021

“Bring agriculture and forestry together into one ecological unit”

Through the 12 days of COP26 we’re sharing 12 expert suggestions to help Britain’s forests grow. We asked forester Jez Ralph, of Timber Strategies, for one policy suggestion, and he said “we should stop siloing – forestry in one place, and agriculture in another, and other land uses in another – but start thinking about cohesive landscapes, where forestry and agriculture are mixed together into one ecological unit.”

‘Wood for the Trees’ is a series of short films about the future of UK forestry. Tom said “as you know Jez, I’m a sawmill owner and we buy in British timber from from all over the UK – what I’m interested in, is with these more complex resilient woodlands – is it going to make it more difficult and more expensive to harvest timber, and then to process it on in sawmills like mine?”

Jez replied “it might make it more difficult, more complex and more expensive but I think we have to change the way we look at timber supply. In the past, as foresters, we’ve been dictated by what the customer wants but now we have a much better understanding – and things like climate change mean that we have to manage forests for their own health first and foremost. No healthy forests, no timber for you at all”  

“I think one of my biggest fears is that our political system perhaps struggles to cope with the long-term nature of forestry and incentives are quite short-term and fit into election cycles rather than a 50 or 100 year cycle and I fear that perhaps we don’t at the moment have the silvicultural craft to really understand these new forests – but my hope and excitement – is that there’s a new generation of people coming in that can combine all these exciting elements and create incredibly healthy forests.  My biggest biggest hope is I suppose that as a society we can embrace evolving forests and really build up a wood culture back in the country again.” said Jez.

Timber Strategies are timber specialists bringing an innovative approach to growing and using timber. They work with clients wanting to push the boundaries of what forestry and timber can do, innovating towards a healthy, vibrant, renewable sector.  Many thanks to Jez for taking part in our series ‘Wood For The Trees.’ 

Watch ‘A better future for our woodlands: 12 ideas to help Britain’s forests grow’

Watch the full interview with Jez in part 3 of wood for the trees: Creating Resilient Woodlands.

For more information and to see the whole series, visit

See the next suggestion:

3. Deliver funding to turn policy into practice


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