Government sell-off of woodlands must involve role for professional foresters

Plans to increase community ownership of woodland in England need to be centred on the skills of professionals, according to the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

The Institute of Chartered Foresters is concerned that public forests in England, which are to be sold as part of the Government spending review, will be poorly protected by community and civil society.

The ICF maintains that transfer of the nation’s forests to community ownership needs to be managed so that the skilled professionals are able to continue this work. 

ICF executive director, Shireen Chambers said:

"Communities need resources to enable them to take on woodland management and we need to make sure that government plans take account of this. There has been a long history of professional foresters helping communities, and we want to make sure that they are fully aware of the expertise required. Our members are in a key position to facilitate this and be a key part in any transition."

Paul Nolan, Chair of England’s Community Forests added:

"Professional forestry input enables communities to get the most from their involvement with their woodlands. Communities value the fact that they are able to come to organisations like ours for advice, we do not put a damper on their involvement, but help them avoid problems and also provide training to gain new skills and knowledge and this encourages ongoing involvement."

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