What does it mean to us?

What does it mean to us in our day-to-day lives?

  • Many of us value trees and woodlands already but what do they mean to you?
  • Do we know all the different ways trees in the UK are useful to us?
  • How does a tree in the forest turn into a piece of furniture in our home – what are the stages on this journey from seedling to sofa?
  • Do we know where the wood products in our homes, gardens, schools and businesses come from?
  • Are we using wood from our own forests or importing it from abroad?
  • Who makes this happen and how do they do it?

Some of the issues facing our wood culture:

Impact here and in other countries

Most of the wood we use comes from other countries. Some of this is produced sustainability and approved by certifying bodies e.g. Forest Stewardship Council or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Some however is produced unsustainably with negative consequences for biodiversity, climate and indigenous peoples. We have a vital role as consumers in demanding wood and wood products from sustainable sources.

Our unloved trees

Looking after woodlands and forests is called ‘management’. Around half of our woodlands in England are not managed or are under managed. In order to maximise the benefits we get from the forest resource, we need to undertake active management.

Positive woodland management

Positive woodland management is about the way in which we grow and manage trees, and also about the way we can manage them for different objectives . The different stages involved in growing woodlands from planting a young seedling tree to harvesting the timber and then replanting with young seedling trees again is called ‘sustainable’ forest or woodland management.The management of woodland for many different purposes is called ‘multi-purpose’ forest or woodland management. The UK Forestry Standard sets out how woodland should be managed to maximise economical, social and environmental benefits.

Diagrams 1 and 2, given with this unit, give a good overview of the elements in a revitalised woodland culture and the range of activities involved in managing woodlands.

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