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NEWS RELEASE No: 768431 MAY 2005


INTERNATIONAL FORESTERS STUDY LAKE DISTRICT'S 'GREENER, FRIENDLIER FORESTS'


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Members of an international forestry organisation are visiting the Lake District this weekend.

The group, from the Commonwealth Forestry Association (CFA), will look at what the Forestry Commission is doing to create ‘greener forests’ and benefit both local people and visitors to the Lake District. The visit coincides with World Environment Day.

The Forestry Commission’s Dave Lowe says: ‘The organisation’s remit is no longer just about producing timber. Instead we now have a stronger emphasis on managing forests to deliver both social and environmental benefits. We are creating greener, friendlier forests.’

During the three-day trip, the CFA will visit Grizedale where they will learn about a new project that aims to regenerate the area, bringing benefits to both the environment and the economy.

The Grizedale Project is part of an ambitious strategy, which includes farming, forestry, tourism and sustainable rural development. It includes increasing the opportunities for walking, cycling and horse riding; improving facilities at the Visitor Centre as well as encouraging and promoting local businesses.

On Sunday, which is World Environment Day, the group will also visit Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve, which is a good example of how the Forestry Commission has used new and innovative ways to conserve precious habitats.

The CFA will hear about how trees planted early in the last century were recently removed to protect the famous limestone pavements, which are home to a number of rare plants and butterflies. Other techniques used to preserve these internationally important habitats include bringing in cattle to graze the land, helping to restore some of the rare plants and grasslands.

Dave Lowe, says: ‘It is particularly appropriate that the group from the Commonwealth Forestry Association will be visiting this successful conservation scheme on World Environment Day.’

‘Today’s Forestry Commission places a very high priority on enhancing the environment. We are therefore working with other organisations to restore areas such as Whitbarrow for the benefit of future generations.’

‘In some areas like this one, we are removing trees altogether to restore the natural environment. In others we are gradually replacing non-native trees such as beech and pine with native trees such as ash, birch, juniper, rowan and alder.’

Jim Ball, Chair of the Commonwealth Forestry Association, is enthusiastic about links with the Forestry Commission. He says: ‘The CFA brings together the foresters of the Commonwealth to learn from one another, and what the Forestry Commission is doing in the Lake District is of great interest for colleagues in other parts of the world.’

The Commonwealth Forestry Association trip will start with a visit to the Lake District Osprey Project’s public viewpoint at Dodd Wood. This important conservation project has attracted international attention over the last few years. Ospreys first nested at Bassenthwaite Lake in 2001, when a pair of the spectacular fish-catching birds bred in the Lakes for the first time for at least 150 years.

Media enquiries to Dave Lowe - North West England Forest District, on 07776 171412.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Commonwealth Forestry Association’s goal is to promote the conservation and sustainable management of the world's forests and the contribution they make to peoples’ livelihoods

2. Grizedale Visitor Centre and Forest Park is bordered by Lake Windermere to the east and Coniston Water to the West. The nearest centres are Hawkshead and Ambleside.

3. The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain with responsibility for over one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. The North West England Forest District covers the Lake District in Cumbria, the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The forests today are managed for conservation, wildlife, landscape and recreation as well as providing a valuable source of timber.

4. The Grizedale Project is a collaboration between Defra, the Forestry Commission, the Lake District National Park and local landowners.

5. At Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve the Forestry Commission worked closely with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, English Nature and the Lake District National Park Authority.

6. The Lake District Osprey Project is managed by the Forestry Commission and the RSPB, in partnership with The Lake District National Park Authority.


e-mail: dave.lowe@forestry.gsi.gov.uk