The Forestry Commission series of Guidelines began in 1988 with the publication of the Forests and Water Guidelines. This was the first in a total of eight Guidelines that were published between 1988 and 2003. The series covered various aspects of sustainable forest management, including landscape, soil, nature conservation, archaeology and recreation.
The publication of The UK Forest Standard in 1998 (second edition 2004) and the advent of independent forest certification through the UK Woodland Assurance Standard in 2000 (second edition 2006) substantially altered the context for the Guidelines. The Forestry Commission reviewed the purpose and scope of the series in 2004 – an exercise which included a consultation. It was decided that the series should be retained, as it was valued by a range of stakeholders, but that it should be substantially revised and re-published at a UK level.
The revisions were developed with the support of the Forestry Commission in England, Scotland and Wales and the Forest Service in Northern Ireland. The aim was to clarify and strengthen the relationship between the Guidelines series and The UK Forestry Standard and to improve the consistency of approach. The new UK Forestry Standard will continue to define governments' requirements for sustainable forest management in the UK and will link directly to the Guidelines for greater detail on the key areas:
- Forests and Biodiversity
- Forests and Climate Change
- Forests and Historic Environment
- Forests and Landscape
- Forests and People
- Forests and Soil
- Forests and Water
The revision of The UK Forestry Standard and each of the Guidelines was carried out by individual working groups comprising of a range of specialists and consultants. This was an inclusive exercise, and involved consultation with a range of stakeholders and the public during 2009.