Virtual forest tours for children

Forestry UKThe tours will teach youngsters about the benefits of forests, different types of woodland habitats and wildlife.

Virtual tours of the UK’s forests have been launched to teach children about the work and jobs of the forestry industry.

The tours will also teach youngsters about issues such as the benefits of forests, different types of woodland habitats and wildlife and the importance of trees to the environment, according to the Forestry Commission. Continue reading “Virtual forest tours for children”

Significant timber forest with energy developing potential for sale on 5,342ac

Llanbrynmair Forest, one of the largest privately-owned commercial forests in Wales, has been brought to the market by Savills. The 5,342ac forest is situated in the Montgomeryshire area of Powys, a region well-known for its timber production.

The forest provides a very rare opportunity to acquire a large-scale commercial forest complex that is effectively within a ring fence. It is made up of a number of individual plantations brought together under single ownership.

Discussing the UK market, James Adamson, head of forestry investment at Savills, said: “Due to the limited size of the UK market, finding a single commercial forest of this scale and productive capacity is very rare indeed. Continue reading “Significant timber forest with energy developing potential for sale on 5,342ac”

Trees must be planted across area half the size of London every year to offset climate damage of farming, experts say

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An area nearly half the size of London should be planted with new trees every year to help tackle climate change, environmental experts have said.

Covering 70,000 hectares with new woodland across the UK annually would result in a net total of zero carbon emissions from farming, according to the think tank Green Alliance.

London covers 159,000 hectares. Calling for more ambitious action on greenhouse gas emissions, a report by the alliance also advises the government to introduce a raft of measures including urging people to eat “less and better” meat and more plant-based foods.

The mass tree-planting scheme needs to start immediately to meet the National Farmers Union’s target of net zero carbon emissions from land use by 2040, the alliance believes. Continue reading “Trees must be planted across area half the size of London every year to offset climate damage of farming, experts say”

Caledonia’s lost forest to be restored to glory in £23m rewilding

Ancient woodland will be pieced back together as part of Europe-wide project that will give endangered species their habitats back

Only a few tattered scraps of woodland in the Cairngorms provide evidence that a vast forest once covered the Scottish Highlands and much of the rest of the nation. This vast arboreal canopy provided homes for wolves, lynx, elks and many other species.

Land clearances for farming, and felling trees for timber, destroyed most of that habitat hundreds of years ago, leaving only a few disconnected fragments of land to provide shelter for dwindling numbers of animals.

But conservationists believe they may soon be able to restore a substantial chunk of this lost landscape and bring Caledonia’s beleaguered forest back to some of its ancient glory. A £23m Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP) has selected the remains of the Caledonian Forest to be the focus of a key restoration project – along with seven other major regeneration schemes – to restore Europe’s most threatened environments. Continue reading “Caledonia’s lost forest to be restored to glory in £23m rewilding”

How UK hopes to make millions from its 15,000-acre forest without mining or logging

Pic: Tom Eblen

For decades, people have sparred over the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Forest, a 15,000-acre block of ecologically diverse Appalachian woodland that serves as a living laboratory for how healthy forests can impact the water and animals that run through them.

Since 1923, when timber magnate E.O. Robinson handed over the clear-cut land in parts of Breathitt, Perry and Knott counties to UK, people have argued about whether UK should benefit from its rich resources. Either the coal seams below or timber harvests above could yield significant new revenue for Kentucky’s financially-strained flagship university.

Just a month ago, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, suggested UK should mine the land in order to fund its Robinson Scholars’ program, a scholarship program Gov. Matt Bevin had proposed to eliminate from the state budget.

Now, UK officials hope they have found a way for the forest to financially benefit the school while preserving it as a living laboratory. UK is exploring a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to implement a program that could pay UK millions for allowing the forest to offset environmental pollution elsewhere.

It might, they estimate, make between $4 million and $6 million in the first 5 years of the program. Continue reading “How UK hopes to make millions from its 15,000-acre forest without mining or logging”

Brexit will allow the UK to value its countryside again

RIP the CAP. As Britain leaves the EU and we abandon the current system of farm subsidies, organised around the bloc’s Common Agricultural policy, the umbilical cord between farmers and the nation’s exchequer will be stretched, if not severed. And as Theresa May, the prime minister, unveils her environment policy it is clear that her and environment secretary Michael Gove’s green agenda will deeply affect farming.

More than 40 years of relying on constant income support have left UK agriculture feeling fragile. Profitability is highly variable, as is productivity. Investment is also random. Many family farms need significant investment of financial and human capital.

Should we prop up such an industry? After all, land values dwarf any realistic measure of income return. Such arguments about the undeserving rich are misleading. I admire farmers and foresters as a breed — we expect a lot from them. First, we demand that our food excels and is cheap — a glaring contradiction. Second, we want the landscape to remain a familiar idyll that earns the nation untold billions in tourism. And third, we expect farmers to act as the nation’s conservationists, for very limited reward.

So while the Brexit adventure is seen by some with trepidation, for others it cannot come quickly enough. My own view is that over the next 10 years, UK farming will adapt, and could become far more successful.
Continue reading “Brexit will allow the UK to value its countryside again”

Britain’s Next Mega Project: A Coast-to-Coast Forest

A map showing the full potential range of the new Northern Forest | Pic: Woodland Trust

The plan is for 50 million new trees to repopulate one of the least wooded parts of the country—and offer a natural escape from several cities in the north.

Northern England is set to get a whole lot greener. On Sunday, the U.K. government unveiled plans for a vast new forest spanning the country from coast to coast. Shadowing the path of the east-west M62 Highway, the new forest will create a broad green rib across England from Liverpool to the east coast city of Hull.

If fully realized along the lines announced this week, the forest will ultimately contain 50 million new trees, stretched in a dense 62,000-acre patchwork along a 120-mile strip. Not only will the forest repopulate one of the least wooded parts of the country with local, mainly broadleaf tree species, it will also provide a band of newly greened landscape to escape to from the many big cities located nearby.

The goal of a thick green ribbon is still a long way off, of course. So far, the government has pledged just an initial £5.7 million of the £500 million needed to fully realize the project. But what’s significant about the plan is that it amps up a transformation that is in fact already underway—it is actually the second major attempt in recent years to re-green the English landscape.

Continue reading “Britain’s Next Mega Project: A Coast-to-Coast Forest”

Agroforestry: an opportunity for sustainable intensification of farmland – Farming Connect

The practice of agroforestry has been described as a ‘win-win’ approach to management, as it offers the opportunity for multifunctional land use, says Dr William Stiles from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.

This can simultaneously benefit food and fuel production, environmental and biodiversity protection, and allow farms to adapt to or mitigate the effects of climate change.

It may sound like a system which would require a major shift in management style to adopt, but in reality it only requires an increase in the presence of in-field trees, both singularly or as part of a structure such as a shelter belt or buffer strip.

Agroforestry is a general term incorporating three specific agricultural approaches: silvoarable (trees and crops), silvopastoral (trees and livestock) and agro-silvopastoral (trees with crops and livestock). Certain styles of agroforestry were once common in UK agriculture, such as orchard or fruit production systems, which also support livestock grazing, and as such can deliver dual production. Continue reading “Agroforestry: an opportunity for sustainable intensification of farmland – Farming Connect”