Monday, 11 March 2013

Commercial Forestry

Commercial Forestry!
Of the original ancient woodlands in the UK only 5% are left because over the centuries they were felled for timber, farmland and settlement. The National Forest (located near Birmingham) has developed remarkably over the past 15 years - Woodland cover has increased from around 6% to over 18%, which is twice the national average for England and seven million trees have been planted. The future target is to continue woodland creation by planting more than 400,000 trees every year.

The more wood there is the more room there is for economic advancement. The UK imports 85% of the timber it needs every year, which is not sustainable. The National Forest provide support for both landowners with mature woodland and new woodland owners with the education and training to ultimately produce sustainable, high quality timber.

The net benefit of the Forest since 1991 is calculated at £140m and 333 jobs have been created/ safeguarded through forestry, farm diversification to forest uses and woodland businesses since the creation of the forest in 1990.

Felling trees is a necessary part of the woodland management and this is usually done in the form of thinnings. Once woodland reaches 20-25 years of age, thinning will remove a proportion of the trees, usually the ones which are weaker or smaller, suppressed individuals that have been out-competed by their neighbours.  It is common for whole rows to be removed at this stage to enable machines into the woodland. Thinnings usually happen on a 7-10 year cycle, allowing the healthiest and better formed trees to grow on to maturity. 

Recreational Uses!

There are over 8 million visitors to the national forest every year, who come to see the beauty of the wood, and participate in the activities offered such as cycling, horseriding, walking, fishing, forest experiences, health spas, motor sports, water sports, archery, Llama treks and winter sports at the Swadlincote Ski & Snowboard Centre.

There are also several lakes which people can sail on, heritage sites including several museums and Claymills Victorian Plumbing Station. Also available to visit are art& craft centres a zoo and a Maize Maze. Several towns in the forest hold events such as barn dances and Ceilidhs which are popular visitor attractions. In 2008 Tourism was worth £287m pa which prompted the building of Over 20 new tourism attractions have opened, including the £16m Conkers which opened in 2001 and there are 4,400 tourism related jobs. 

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