Forest Design Planning is the way that Forestry Commission Wales plans its medium to long-term (50 years) management of the public estate. The Forest Design Plan (FDP) explains both how the forest is to be managed and why. All FDPs are considered in the context of the Wales Woodland Strategy and the Forest District strategic plan.
The plans contain proposals for felling and restocking for the future. This approach is intended to protect and manage sensitive features, stands and landscapes and to achieve objectives such as the linking and possible extension of open space, the protection and enhancement of semi-natural woodland and the management of areas for long term retention.
Concept Plan & Brief
A concept plan and designers brief is produced prior to design. They set out the objectives and issues to be addressed in the different parts of the forest and highlight major constraints. They provide a useful outline of the vision for an area without going in to the exact detail of what is proposed. Primary consultation with statutory consultees and local communities is undertaken at this point through the Community Ranger and Local Area Manager.
Once the design concept has been agreed amongst stakeholders, the designer drafts the management proposals. The proposals will be for felling (the felling map) and establishment of the next generation of the woodland (the restocking map).
This is really a map that not only shows areas for felling, but also those areas which will be managed without clearfelling. The shapes and timings of the areas will be tested through computer aided design work and then presented at a scale of 1:10000.
Restock maps (1:10000) show future proposals for the species and open space composition of the forest. It is impractical to draw up detailed restock proposals with exact boundaries, so the proposals are indicative. Detailed proposals would be finalised prior to an area being restocked.
Presenting the Plan
The presentation of the plan strikes a balance between text and visual information (maps, graphs, charts, tables, photographs, etc). The completed plan is a summary of the process, giving enough information to explain the rationale behind decisions, and allow the plan to be implemented.
Consultation on the completed plan with statutory consultees is undertaken as well as presenting the plan to local communities to gain feedback on the proposals. Following this process the plan is then formally submitted to the Forestry Commission Conservancy for scrutiny and formal appraisal. The Design Plan is entered on the Forestry Commission Public Register for four weeks, at which time any formal objection from consultees is received.
Approval by the Forestry Commission Conservancy
Approval of proposals by the Forestry Commission Conservancy takes place once the public register period is satisfactorily completed and any comments have been considered, amending the plan if necessary. Any disputes are adjudicated by the Woodland Strategy Advisory Panel. The plan will run for 10 years from the date of approval with a review in the 5th year.