Forestry Commission approves National Forest management plan

The 100th woodland management plan in The National Forest has been approved by the Forestry Commission, the UK governing body for forestry.

Woodland management in The National Forest
Woodland management in The National Forest

Woodland management plans are part of the National Forest Company’s (NFC) Forest & Woodland Management Programme. The programme started in September 2013.

Over 5,000 hectares of woodland have an approved management plan and are undergoing active management, according to The Forestry Commission. This is approximately 50 per cent of the total woodland within The National Forest.

Woodland management is an increasingly important aspect of creating The National Forest, and over 8 million trees have been planted throughout the 200 square miles of The National Forest since the 1990s, and although new woodlands continue to be created and more trees planted, managing the growing trees is vital to create healthy, resilient and productive woodlands, the organisation said.

Through the NFC’s Forest & Woodland Management Programme, landowners can obtain advice on planning the future management of their woodland, including taking out first thinnings to create space for the remaining trees to thrive, and advice on how best to prevent and minimise the impact of any pests and diseases that may affect the woodland.

Charles Robinson, woodland management officer for the NFC, said:  "Creating a woodland management plan is the first step in managing woodland. The plan sets out the vision for the woodland and creates objectives as to how this will be achieved over the following 10 years.

"By looking at all aspects of the woodland, including both the opportunities and the threats that may face the site over the coming years, the owner has a working document which will help them make the  right decisions in the future. By working with our partners at the Forestry Commission, a plan will also provide a felling license for the woodland so that all operations are approved and conform to the UK Forestry Standard."

The 100th woodland management plan was produced by Angus Hancock, of Cameron Forest & Garden Ltd. for Michael Stanton. Stanton planted two woodlands through the National Forest Company’s Tender Scheme, the first (Stanton’s Wood) in 2000 and the second (Windmill Wood) in 2001. In total, the woodlands cover 60 hectares and lie just north of Ticknall, Derbyshire.

As part of the woodland design, permissive public access was granted across both woods, and a permissive horse route created around the edge of Stanton’s Wood.

As a result of the management plan first thinning work will be carried out by a local contractor over the coming winter. First thinnings involve the removal of 25-30 per cent of the trees to give space for the remainder to continue to grow well. At the same time the best trees will be selected for pruning, where the side branches will be removed to encourage upward growth and to reduce the number of knots in the timber. The felled timber will be sold locally as firewood.

The work has been supported by the NFC through its Woodland Management Grant. This grant is designed to help manage woodlands in The National Forest, bringing benefits for wildlife, timber and public access.

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