Small Woods are Recruiting!

Woodland Management Advisory Officer

An exciting new core role has been created at the Small Woods Association!

The core purpose of your role will be to give technical advice on production, ecological and community engagement issues to small woodland owners and managers through the many channels of communication used by the association, and its members, e.g., by phone, email, members’ events and the organisation’s publications including our quarterly magazine, monthly newsletter, advice notes and handbooks.

Other key functions of the role include assisting with the delivery of woodland management aspects of several innovative projects the organisation is currently contracted to deliver.  This includes supporting the development of the ‘Telford Woods’ Social Enterprise which is now entering its ‘woodland management and forestry operations planning’ stage; this will include drawing up woodland management plans (including consideration of the significant ‘social’ aspects to this project), grant applications and contributing to the business planning for the Social Enterprise.  Small Woods is also providing secretariat to the FSC’s steering group for the development of a new standard appropriate for ‘small woods’; the postholder would play a key role in contributing to this work.

We are looking for an individual with good knowledge of the technical aspects of woodland management planning and, preferably, experience managing forestry operations contractors and excellent communication skills.  Above all we are interested in someone who shares the values of our organisation.  An interest and understanding of ‘social enterprise’ in woodland management would be an advantage.
Job Description: Small Woods Woodland Officer Job Description

Job Application Form: SWA-Job-application-form-2019

Closing date for applications is Wed 5 June, interviews to be held Thurs 13 June. Please send applications to office@smallwoods.org.uk

 

Ash dieback is predicted to cost £15 billion in Britain

Ash dieback is a fungal disease, originally from Asia, which is lethal to Europe’s native ash trees. It was first found in Britain in 2012 and is thought to have been brought to the UK years earlier on infected imported ash trees. It is expected to kill 95-99% of ash trees in Britain.

A team of researchers from the University of Oxford, Fera Science, Sylva Foundation and the Woodland Trust has calculated the true economic cost of Ash dieback – and the predictions, published today in Current Biology, are staggering:

· The total cost of Ash dieback to the UK is estimated to be £15 billion

· Half of this (£7 billion) will be over the next 10 years

· The total cost is 50 times larger than the annual value of trade in live plants to and from Britain, which is the most important route by which invasive plant diseases enter the country

· There are 47 other known tree pests and diseases that could arrive in Britain and which may cost an additional £1 billion or more

The predicted costs arise from clearing up dead and dying trees and in lost benefits provided by trees, e.g. water and air purification and carbon sequestration. The loss of these services is expected to be the biggest cost to society, while millions of ash trees also line Britain’s roads and urban areas, and clearing up dangerous trees will cost billions of pounds.

Dr Louise Hill, researcher at Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford and lead author of the study, said:

The numbers of invasive tree pests and diseases are increasing rapidly, and this is mostly driven by human activities, such as trade in live plants and climate change. Nobody has estimated the total cost of a tree disease before, and we were quite shocked at the magnitude of the cost to society. We estimate the total may be £15 billion – that’s a third more than the reported cost of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 2001. The consequences of tree diseases for people really haven’t been fully appreciated before now.’

Dr Nick Atkinson, senior conservation advisor for the Woodland Trust and co-author of the paper, said:

When Ash dieback first entered the country, no one could have fully predicted the devastating impact it would have on our native habitats. To see how this has also affected our economy speaks volumes for how important tree health is, and that it needs to be taken very seriously.

‘It is clear that to avoid further economic and ecological impacts, we need to invest more in plant biosecurity measures. This includes better detection, interception and prevention of other pests and diseases entering the country. We need to learn from past mistakes and make sure our countryside avoids yet another blow.’

The scientists say that the total cost could be reduced by replanting lost ash trees with other native trees, but curing or halting the disease is not possible. They advise that the government’s focus now has to be on preventing introductions of other non-native diseases to protect our remaining tree species.

Recommendations:

· A nationwide replanting scheme could reduce the overall cost by £2.5 billion, by ensuring that lost ecosystem services are replaced

· Greater focus on and investment in biosecurity and sourcing of safe plant material is needed to keep new diseases out

· Introduce far tighter controls on imports of all live plants for planting, as this is the largest pathway through which tree diseases are introduced

The full paper can be found here: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30331-8

 

Woodfuel Workshop – responding to the air quality challenge

Come along to our live event, in association with Woodsure, held at our Headquarters in Coalbrookdale, Telford TF8 7DR on Friday 3rd May 2019

This workshop is to understand the science behind the government’s push on firewood in the clean air strategy and to find a way forward for the smaller firewood producer – what help or assistance is required.  This event should be of interest to woodland owners, coppicers, arboriculturalists and other small firewood producers.

Woodsure Live at Small Woods – click here for further information and to register

This is a fantastic opportunity to meet staff from Woodsure, Small Woods and Grown in Britain – there will be update and presentations together with an open Q&A.

Small Woods are happy to provide a guided tour after the seminar

Refreshments will be provided. Further details will be sent out nearer the time, once registered

 

Secretary of State visits the National Forest

Environment Secretary Michael Gove visited the National Forest last week to learn more about how trees have transformed this 200 square miles of the Midlands.

Since 1991, the planting of more than 8.7m trees has brought economic, social and environmental benefits throughout parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

The Secretary of State met John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company (NFC) and William Worsley, Chair of the NFC and national Tree Champion. They updated the Secretary of State on how this year the NFC with its partners has created a further 250 hectares of forest habitat, contributing to the overall increase in forest cover from 6% in 1991 to 21% today – more than twice the national average. The National Forest has also reached a milestone of achieving 75% woodlands in active management, well ahead of the national average of 59%.

Michael Gove said: “It has been wonderful to visit the National Forest today to see the vast amount of work underway to maintain and enhance this vital natural asset.

“Trees are living evidence of our investment in future generations. As we strive to grow our woodland cover we must continue to encourage and support large-scale projects like this one to secure a greener, healthier future.”

William Worsley said: “We were delighted to host the Secretary of State here in the National Forest and hear his enthusiasm for the important role that trees can play in environmentally-led regeneration. We were able to highlight how the National Forest Company, working with partners, delivers both exceptional value for money and great public benefits, demonstrating how the aims of the Government’s 25 year Environment Plan can be achieved.”

The Secretary of State visited Beacon Hill Country Park with Rt Hon Nicky Morgan to also see the Charnwood landscape, part of the National Forest, and hear about the plans for connecting habitats, increasing access and engaging people through the Heritage Lottery funded Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme.

For more information on the National Forest see www.nationalforest.org

 

 

Working Together – A New Forestry Skills Plan for England and Wales

News Release – Forestry Skills Plan for England and Wales

Smallwoods, along with nearly thirty forestry employers, associations and educational providers are proud to have pledged to work together to attract the very best of young and new talent into the sector.

This is part of a 5 year plan, published on 6th February, that aims to increase numbers of new entrants and improve the skills of the current workforce so that the growing forestry industry can reach its full potential.

The Forestry Skills Plan has four themes: talent attraction, skills and technical knowledge, education provision and employer support. The themes have been split into separate action plans that partners will develop and deliver over coming years.

The Forestry Skills Forum believes that industry bodies can achieve more by collaboration than working in isolation, and the plan will facilitate the long term, coordinated, targeted approach to tackling skills issues. Forum members are committed to using the plan to prioritise activity, work together efficiently and take control of the skills agenda in order to develop a skilled forestry workforce for the future.

To download the plan or find out more about the Forestry Skills Forum see: https://www.rfs.org.uk/skills-forum/

 

 

 

Tackling Deer Population Issues

Smallwoods Deer Awareness Training Event in Conjunction with The Deer Initiative

 Deer are a beautiful component of the British countryside, our largest land mammal and valuable component of natural capital. They are elusive, often shy but able to voraciously devour the very habitats we hold so dear. 

Deer have long been responsible for the local decline of key flora and fauna by simplifying woodland structures reducing the feeding, breeding and resting places for birds, mammals and invertebrates. 

For the woodland or land manager with a commercial focus, deer can have catastrophic effects causing tens of thousands of pounds of damage and being incredibly challenging to mitigate against. 

Our Deer Awareness- An introduction to impact assessment course is suitable for woodland owners and managers who need to undertake some form of deer management. The course will provide details on how to gather and assess the level of impact and how to implement and monitor control measures. 

This course is undertaken in partnership with the Deer initiative and the course tutor is David Jam CEO of the Deer Initiative. David has spent his career in woodland management and commercial forestry and has managed deer on a national scale for the past 15 years. 

This course will be especially beneficial for progressive woodland owners with an interest in both enhancing biodiversity and productivity of their woodlands. If your objectives are a sustainable wildlife habitat or quality timber for future generations you need to consider deer in the management of your woodlands. While deer are both a stunning visual asset and valuable element of natural capital they can conversely be severely damaging to woodland structure and productivity. 

This course is designed to give woodland owners and managers a better understanding of living and dealing with deer in your woodlands 

Participants will; 

  • Gain a understanding of UK deer species, biology and geographical distribution 
  • Learn to recognise and identify deer sign and Impacts 
  • Gain an understanding of legislation; owners and managers responsibilities. 
  • Understand how to plan woodland management with deer in mind 
  • Gain an insight into physical protection and non-lethal management options 
  • Understand lethal deer management principles and how it is undertaken 
  • Understand the value of venison as a by-product of management.C 

David Jam,
CEO of The Deer Initiative

 

 

SWA Response to the Domestic Burning Consultation

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this important consultation, which is of great significance to Small Woods members, most if not all of whom source and use wood fuel for their own use and many also supply it to others.

Overall, we would want to stress the major positive role that local woodfuel supply has in promoting sustainable woodland management and in rural economies and livelihoods. The development of local woodfuel markets has led to a significant improvement in woodland management, as the income it has provided and the enterprises it has supported has led to an increase in resources for and skills available to undertake sensitive woodland management. Not only businesses, but also significant conservation bodies across the UK are funded in part through woodfuel supply, for example Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. It is critical that as this regulation is developed that Defra do have the unintended consequence of stifling this really important sector by introducing regulations, licencing and charges that will make it impossible for small suppliers and producers to operate. We would be happy to assist Defra in the further development of this legislation.

Income from wood fuel is often invested back into the sustainable management of our native woodlands. And the ability to sell wood fuel relatively easily to local markets is part of a cycle of sustainable market that is benefiting biodiversity and local economies. Better managed woodlands are better able to facilitate improved health and well being benefits. The vast majority of small woodfuel producers exclusively serve local markets and the link between the increased demand for wood fuel and sustainable woodland management should be more fully acknowledged.

We would for example challenge the rather simplistic infographic on Page 5 of the consultation document as simply being misleading. The infographic simply estimates the PM2.5s at the point of burning, and not the whole supply chain, which for generated electricity and for gas are also dirty. The supply chains on which gas and electricity depend, involve transporting crude oil and gas long distances by sea in diesel burning tankers, which themselves play a significant role in polluting fragile marine environments. The information presented directly understates the advantages of stimulating short supply chains for well seasoned woodfuel and says nothing of its positive role in the woodland management cycle.

Local woodfuel is one of the few examples of a growing local market, where Britain is becoming increasingly self-sufficient. In the light of current events, we would not want to see systems that led to an increase in imported wood fuel just to meet the needs of accreditation or to fill the gap left by small producers pushed out of the market. For example, the small woodland sector is not well served currently by the accreditation bodies, due to the cost and complexity of accreditation. Currently, Small Woods is working with FSC and others to help address this deficiency, in order to develop an appropriate standard for small woodlands, but there is no guarantee when this will emerge, or even if it will emerge at all.

We also work closely with the woodfuel sector more broadly and have good working relationships with organisations such as HETAS, Woodsure and Grown in Britain. SWA have been meeting members and owners at rural shows and wood fairs around the country this year and it is clear this is an area of concern for many small producers and we have encouraged participation in the consultation. However, we would assess that there is universal agreement that burning seasoned wood below 20% is the right approach and we have been advocating this for some time, as the article in our Summer magazine demonstrates.

Consumer awareness of the issue is low and there should be minimum requirements for point of sale information, as well as improved information online. For example, it is very hard to find out information about the location of Smoke Control Areas, whereas previous smokeless zones were well known and well publicised.

Notwithstanding, the Small Woods Association is very much in support of the overall direction of the policy initiative and wholeheartedly supports the objectives to:

• Legislate to prohibit the sale of the most polluting fuels.
• Ensure only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.
• Update outmoded legislation on Smoke Control Areas to bring these into the 21st century with more flexible, proportionate enforcement powers for local government.
• Work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market.
• Ensure that consumers understand what they can do to reduce their impact from emissions from domestic burning

Small Woods Association
12-10-18
https://www.gov.uk/…/air-quality-using-cleaner-fuels-for-do…

 

Movement restrictions introduced to protect against tree pest in Kent

 New measures have just been introduced yesterday (16 January) to protect the country against the tree pest known as the larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus), which was discovered in Kent in December 2018. 

This beetle is considered a serious pest on spruce in Europe and has recently been found in the wider environment in England as part of routine plant health surveillance activity.

Legislation is being laid in Parliament that will restrict the movement of all susceptible material, including trees and wood with bark, within 50km of the outbreak sites where Ips typographus was found. 

This legislation is a necessary precaution to prevent the spread of the pest further afield and will remain in place until further notice, but will be kept under review. 

The exact boundaries of the restricted area and details of the materials under restriction will be available on the Forestry Commission website. 

Industry are also urged to remain vigilant for signs of the pest and to report any suspicions to the Forestry Commission. 

Nicola Spence, the UK Chief Plant Health Officer, said:

‘The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) poses no threat to human health, but it can be a serious pest to the spruce tree species and the forestry industry.

That is why we are taking robust action through this new legislation and its restriction of movement for spruce trees in a 50km area around the outbreak.

I encourage anyone who suspects a sighting of the bark beetle to report these to the Forestry Commission online through Tree Alert.’

Please report any suspected cases HERE: https://treealert.forestry.gov.uk/