These reports provide independent evaluation of the work of two projects aimed at developing rural economies through forestry. These projects are the South West Forest covering 340,000 hectares of north Devon and north Cornwall, and Forest Futures covering all of Cumbria.
The projects represent an investment of nearly £1.5million by partners including the Forestry Commission, Countryside Agency and local authorities, with a further £3million in associated grants and funding streams. They also show the positive results that the right investment can have on regenerating local businesses and strengthening rural communities.
The evaluation of the projects was carried out over a 3 year period by independent consultants PACEC, and reveal that the projects had a positive impact on:
- local communities: through environmental, health and educational opportunities; through employment and new business opportunities and by keeping families in the area/on their land;
- local economies: on top of the supporting of a total of 342 jobs, the projects have both assisted in the starting up and development of businesses, and had a dramatic effect on local timber industry;
- quality of life: with over half of the beneficiaries of each project saying they felt more confident about the future because of the work of the projects
- the environment: with biodiversity improvements contributing to local action plan targets; contributions to the planting and management of ancient and native woodlands; and new planting contributing to the battle against climate change, with an estimation of 17,000 tonnes of carbon being sequestered (taken out of the atmosphere) by the new trees.
There are 3 reports:
- the evaluation report of the South West Forest (PDF: 5.6 MB)
- a report on the Forest Futures (PDF: 3.6 MB)
- and a joint report that summarises the evaluation of both projects (PDF: 193 KB)
Further information about the South West Forest project, and its evaluation is at:
The project was funded by the Forestry Commission, the Countryside Agency, Objective 1 funding, Vocational Training Scheme, the Rural Enterprise Scheme, Devon County Council, Cornwall County Council, North Devon District Council, Torridge District Council, West Devon Borough Council, Landfill Tax (via Sweet UK Ltd), the Woodland Trust (Tree 4 All Programme), and the Forest Education Initiative Partnership fund.
Further information about the North West Forest Futures project, and further evaluation of its successes are available at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-5UHG3Y. Information about the North West Forest futures project is available from . It was funded by the Forestry Commission, Rural Regeneration Cumbria, Cumbria County Council, and English Nature.
The evaluation was carried out by PACEC (Public and Corporate Economic Consultants)