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The Forestry Commission is beginning forest management work in Bourne Wood near Farnham in Surrey from mid-April. The work is part of a ten year forest design plan to protect and enhance Bourne Wood for the future.
The forest management programme, which will include a comprehensive tree planting programme, commences with tree thinning, felling and removal of invasive and non-native shrub species.
Approximately 2,000 mature trees are being removed which will be replaced with 10,000 new conifer trees next winter. The replanting is vital for sustainable forestry and in helping to combat climate change.
Light tree thinning will take place across most of the wood, removing smaller and weaker trees, allowing the ones that remain more sunlight and room to grow. Stronger trees are more stable and less likely to blow down during stormy weather conditions.
In the north east corner of the wood, between Dene Lane and Lobswood Manor, an area of 3.7 hectares of trees will be cleared and new trees will be planted to take their place. This rotational cycle of felling and replanting in the wood provides a variety of structure and diversity of habitats for wildlife.
Plants and flowers will also benefit with more sunlight reaching the forest floor. The disturbance to the ground by forest machinery also promotes natural regeneration of trees, new growth of heather species and also attracts bare earth invertebrates.
Parts of Bourne Wood will remain open while work is in progress, although there will be some short-term closures during weekdays for public safety until the work is completed in late May, weather permitting.
The last time the Forestry Commission carried out tree felling at Bourne Wood was over 11 years ago, just before it was used as a filming location for the Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator. It is still a popular international filming location and it is hoped that the forest management will ensure its ongoing visual appeal for visitors and on screen audiences for many years to come.
Bruce Auchterlonie, Beat Forester, said:
“Bourne Wood is a beautiful woodland with Scots Pine and silver birch, which are indigenous to the habitat. We want to keep it like that now and in the future. We need to fell trees when they are mature so that new trees can be planted to provide an attractive wood for the next generation. We do apologise for any inconvenience in the short term to visitors of the Bourne while forest management is in progress.”
A non-native species of shrub called Gaultheria shallon, which is a popular foliage plant with flower markets in London and Germany, also requires removal. This invasive species spreads rapidly and competes with the native Bilberry shrub and new tree saplings destined for Bourne Wood. The Gaultheria roots will be removed, refrigerated and sold to foliage and flower markets in Germany.
The timber harvested from Bourne Wood is likely to be used for the production of fencing, gates, wood for fuel and higher quality timber for furniture or construction. Wood is a sustainable resource and less energy is required to make wooden products than products made from plastic, concrete or steel, reducing the need to burn fossil fuels.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Bourne Wood
Bourne Wood is a small mainly coniferous woodland on the edge of Farnham. It is a much-loved woodland and provides walking and other recreational opportunities for local people.
Production companies come from all over the world to take advantage of its unique setting. From the central clearing there are no views of civilisation, which means it can reproduce settings from any point in history. Many millions of pounds have gone into local businesses whilst it hosts film productions. The income from filming helps to support and maintain nature conservation and recreation projects on Forestry Commission land across the South East.
About the Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission manages over 250,000 hectares (600,000 acres) of woodlands in England. Most of this land is open for public access and the Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in the country. For further information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/southeastengland.
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
Jo Spouncer, on behalf of the Forestry Commission
Tel: 01420 23666 Mob: 07828 762045