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Making woodlands work for your business

Woodland management is the long-term maintenance of your woodland that delivers your business and woodland management plan objectives, and can unlock extra income.

Woodlands are a valuable resource which provide wildlife habitats and biodiversity, serve as a pleasant place to visit and offer protection from flooding. They can also provide shelter, protect soil, improve water quality and store carbon.

Most notably, the commercial benefits include income from:
• Timber sales
• Game shoots
• Tourism
• Estate capital value

“The wood that pays is the wood that stays” – Oliver Rackham, the late leading ecologist.

Benefits of woodland management

Woodland makes up about one million hectares, or 10 per cent of England, and many land owners are reaping the rewards their woodlands have to offer – it’s easier than you might think:

Enhancing capital value

The more active the management, the more valuable the woods are to your business. Take advantage of the natural products grown in your woodland (both wood and game meat) and the space it offers, by boosting your income through sales of timber and woodfuel, commercial shoots and deer stalking, the 250 million visits to woodland each year and tax advantages for commercial forestry.

Wildlife and game

Wild animals and plants benefit from diverse and well managed habitats.

Future proofing

Woodlands with different tree species, ages and management regimes are more resilient to storms, pests, disease and fire, and reduce the extent of damage caused by flooding. Careful woodland management can improve water quality and help to reduce flood risk.

We can help you to grow your woodland business

From accessing various grants to advising how to produce an effective woodland management plan, our woodland experts can support you to:

  • Manage your woodland your way
  • Apply for financial support, such as Countryside Stewardship and other RDPE funds, in exchange for carrying out environmentally beneficial works on your woodland
  • Obtain more information on the multiple benefits of management, including Grown in Britain licensing
  • Boost your income, and take advantage of the demand for home-grown timber and woodfuel

We work with the land management and forestry sector, and an experienced supply chain, to help you get the most from your woodlands. Stay ahead of the curve and maximise the benefits from your land’s potential by actively managing your woodland – realising benefits in the short-term, while protecting your woodland for future generations and creating a long term investment.

Myth-busting

• “It’s too expensive” – There are multiple opportunities for you to access funding, and the timber and woodfuel markets are growing, making it increasingly economically viable.

• “It’s best to leave it to nature” – Some woodland owners decide to leave their woods untouched; because this is a conscious decision, it can be part of a management plan. However, it’s important to consider how intervention will help guard against damage by pests, diseases, storms and fire, and develop rewards in the short and long-term.

• “It’s too complicated” – We can help you find the support you need!

Success story

The volunteer-run Boston Woods Trust manages 110 acres of public woodland and parkland for recreational purposes, including walking, bird watching and cycling. Managed alder tree thinning and oak pruning has encouraged the growth of Westgate Wood; a young, mixed woodland within the Trust’s land, which was planted in 1999. Demand in woodfuel was a driver to sell the wood from this management directly to customers as fuel and timber, generating additional revenue for the Trust of £1,000 per year.
The woodland is not far from self-financing itself and the income is contributing to the running costs to fund the upkeep of the adjacent parkland and facilities.

Help and advice

We can support you in creating a UK Forestry Standard compliant Management Plan to make your woodlands work for you and the environment, and help you with felling licences that can be part of your plan. You need a management plan to access grants under the current Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), or become licensed under Grown In Britain but it needn’t take much time or investment.

Visit www.forestry.gov.uk and use our template. You can also apply for grants to help you develop your management plan:

Information on RDPE funding and support (including Countryside Stewardship)

We can also provide you with support on completing a felling licence.

How to get involved

We and our partners partners are working hard to bring more woodland into active management and provide you with on-the-ground support and expert advice. Call 0300 067 4000 or  fe.england@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Last updated: 18th April 2016