An inclosure is an area of land originally fenced off to grow trees. The fences keep out commoning animals which can damage young trees.
The New Forest has 100 inclosures which results in an area of 8,500 hectares, and today they are not only important for producing timber but also for their conservation and recreation value.
The New Forest produces approximately 50,000 tonnes of timber per annum, equivalent to over 2,000 lorry loads each year.
The timber comes from areas that are either thinned to promote the growth of the remaining trees or from areas cleared for replanting or restoration to other habitats, such as heathland.
Modern harvesting equipment can cut up to 1,000 tonnes a week, and in the New Forest the Forestry Commission supplies a number of local and regional mills with conifer logs to produce a range of products including fencing, pallets, carcassing and chip board.
During the winter months the forest produces some 1,000 tonnes of quality hardwoods, mainly oak, that is largely used for green oak buildings and beams.
All the timber is certificated, holding the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) mark, giving the customer assurance that the wood has come from sustainable managed forests.
The harvesting operations move around the forest's timber inclosures on approximately a five-year cycle.
Careful plans are drawn up at each site in order to minimise the impact on both visitors and the environment whilst seeking to maximise the long-term benefits of the operation. It is inevitable that there will be some disruption but damaged rides and tracks will be repaired as soon after the operation as possible.
The forest remains very much a working landscape and all the receipts from timber sales go back into the area helping to cover the costs of tree establishment, conservation and recreation work.
Timber harvesting is a dangerous activity as falling trees can kill. It is therefore important that all visitors to the forest obey the safety signage on work sites to ensure your visit is both enjoyable and safe.