Forestry Commission: Wikis

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The Forestry Commission (established in 1919) is a non-ministerial government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. Its mission is to protect and expand Britain's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment.

Contents

Role

The Forestry Commission manages 7,720 square kilometres of land in Great Britain, the majority of which (60%) is in Scotland, 26% of the landholding is in England and the remainder in Wales[1]. Activities carried out on the forest estate include timber harvesting to supply domestic industry, replanting of harvested areas, maintenance and improvement of the natural environment and the provision of recreation.

Afforestation is the main reason for the creation of the commission. They plant both conifer and broadleaved trees throughout Britain for the purpose of harvesting.

The Forestry Commission is also the government body responsible for the regulation of forestry nationally. Part of this role is carried out through the disbursement of funding in support of private forests and woodlands

Organisational structure

The organisation has a Board of Commissioners with duties and powers prescribed by statute, consisting of a Chairman and up to ten other Forestry Commissioners, including its Director General, who are appointed by the Queen.

The Commission also has an Executive Board which assists the Director General and Country Directors in the effective management of the Commission by providing leadership and setting direction for the Commission as an organisation.

Its current structure of separate Forestry Commissions for England, Scotland and Wales, came into effect on 1 April 2003. This structure allows the Commission to focus more clearly on delivering the policies of the individual Governments while still having the ability to take a Great Britain-wide approach to "cross-border" issues.

The Forestry Commission in each country is led by a Director who is also a member of the GB Board of Commissioners. Delivery of policy, as well as progress against strategy objectives, are overseen in each country by the Commission's National Committee for England, National Committee for Scotland and National Committee for Wales..

Research division

Forest Research is a Great Britain-wide agency of the Forestry Commission which aims to deliver high-quality scientific research and surveys, to inform the development of forestry policies and practices, and promote high standards of sustainable forest management.

Recreation

The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of outdoor recreation in Britain [1]. It is working with many user groups to promote the use of its land for recreation such as hillwalking, cycling, mountain biking and horseback riding. There are many such projects throughout Britain. A notable and successful example is its 7stanes project in Scotland where seven purpose built areas of man-made mountain bike trails have been laid and has proved very popular. A another project to promote the use of its land is the Forest Tour, which is a music festival.

Biodiversity

Britain's forests are a great habitat and species resource. Biodiversity conservation is an integral part of sustainable forestry, the Government's approach to which is detailed in The UK Forestry Standard and supporting Guidelines. The Forestry Commission contributes to the UKBAP by helping to deliver habitat and species action plans, notably, it has a lead role in taking forward the Native Woodland Habitat Action Plans. The aim is to enhance the nature conservation value of all our forests and safeguard special habitats. A series of Biodiversity Briefing Notes[2] provide background on the UKBAP process and its relevance to forestry, and describes how the Forestry Commission is contributing.

Forests

Some of the forests managed by the Forestry Commission are:

Criticism

In the 1960s, the Forestry Commission received a large amount of complaints, due to their afforestation schemes. In 1919, when the commission was created, they were given land with low soil quality – usually in highland areas. When the plantations were almost fully grown in the 1960s, nearby citizens complained that they were an eyesore. The Forestry Commission planted conifer trees, which usually grow to the same height and have a very dark colour. Since then, landscape improvement has been a key feature of the Forestry Commission's work. All forests are covered by a Forest Design Plan, which aims to balance the different objectives of timber production, landscape amelioration, ecological restoration, recreation provision and other relevant objectives. Forest management is a long term business, with plans frequently extending for a minimum of twenty-five or thirty years into the future.

Whilst early plantations were criticised for their lack of diversity, the Forestry Commission has been steadily improving the value of its woodlands for wildlife. The large blocks of conifer associated with the earlier plantings were beneficial to some species such as siskin, goldcrest, crossbill, most members of the tit family, long-eared owls, nightjars, roe deer, pine martins and polecats, but the greater emphasis on diversity now favours a much wider range of species, including broadleaved and open ground specialist species.

References

See also

External links

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Simple English

The Forestry Commission is a UK Government agency that was set up in 1918.

The commission is responsible for many forests and woodlands in Great Britain. Its job is to protect and expand Britain's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment.

Some of its forests are pine trees which the commission manages and carefully cuts down trees for wood and paper making. The money from this helps the commission to maintain it other forests which are not farmed but which are used for recreation, by people wanting to visit the countryside, and also to fund some scientific research into the ways to grow trees and to keep them healthy.

The Forestry Commission looks after a lot of the forests in the list of Forests in the United Kingdom



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