Government needs evidence on whether any target for woodland creation proposed by the Independent Panel on Forestry in England to meet these objectives is (a) achievable and (b) desirable. The ‘Woodland Potential Calculator’, developed by the Forestry Commision with support from Natural England is being used to present contextual information at the level of individual National Character Area's(NCAs) as a ‘bottom-up’ framework for discussion. This national initiative builds on previous joint working in the Northwest of England in support of the Northwest Woodland Creation Manifesto and will underpin a national movement for sustainable woodland expansion.
The process developed is a high-level national mapping exercise incorporating local views on the appropriate level of woodland creation at a landscape scale using existing data sources. NCA key facts and data helped populate the Woodland Potential Calculator, highlighting where future woodland creation will best deliver ecosystem services, what type of woodland would deliver those ecosystem services and, also, where woodland creation would not be appropriate.
The Woodland Potential Calculator has been developed to enable groups to have informed debate and participate in a national discussion to feed back local informed opinions to Government. This will be 'regionally based', supported by FC National Office. Relevant information developed by Nature Improvement Areas, Local Nature Partnerships, Regional Forestry Frameworks, biodiversity partnerships and other sources over the past few years will be made available as 'local context'.
The results of the engagement process will be discussed at stakeholder workshops , to (a) outline the conclusions of the informal consultation and (b) explore issues raised in individual NCAs if/where consensus was not evident through the informal consultation.