We undertake a wide range of research to support our objectives of protecting and expanding Britain's forests and woodlands and increasing their value to society and the environment.
These objectives support government policies of sustainable forest management and are expressed in The UK Forestry Standard and its supporting series of Guidelines.
The Forestry Commission Science and Innovation Strategy (SIS) for British Forestry provides the context and framework for the research undertaken by the Forestry Commission to meet the needs of the forestry functions in across the UK. The SIS sets the Forestry Commission objectives for its research commissioning programmes, including that commissioned from Forest Research, and provides indicators to measure their success.
Research is one of the cross border functions of the Forestry Commission and funding is provided through the Westminster vote via Defra. The legislation which gave rise to Scottish and Welsh devolution included provisions for the current arrangement whereby each administration is responsible for funding forestry activities within their own countries. However it was jointly agreed by the Forestry Ministers Group that (rather than trisect the funding) the UK Parliament (Defra) would continue to fund those functions such as research, plant health and support for the Forestry Commissioners, which were either reserved or by agreement carried out on a cross-border basis. Implementation of this recommendation led to the development of the Science and Innovation Strategy for British Forestry. This is overseen by the Research Strategy Management Board with representatives from each country and which now has responsibility for the research programmes.
Most forest research commissioning is managed at GB level on behalf of the Devolved Administrations, though Forestry Commission England, Scotland and Natural Resources Wales each purchase some research independently to support their own policy development or operational activity. There is also a dialogue with the Northern Ireland Forest Service (NIFS) ensuring that GB research outputs are made available to NIFS and can support the forestry sector in Northern Ireland.
The strategy will be delivered through a series of new research programmes.
We are a member of the Living With Environmental Change partnership and are involved in other similar research co-ordination bodies such as the Co-ordinated Agenda for Marine, Environment & Rural Affairs Science in Scotland (CAMERAS). Membership of these organisations is designed to improve the co-ordination of research within the UK, avoid the duplication of research activities, and ensure that programmes of research are cost effective and appropriate to the current context.
Research reports and programmes
Reports of commissioned research are published under the relevant programmes or as formal publications in the Research Report and Research Note series available from our publications catalogue.
Forest Research Agency
Our Forest Research agency is the principal organisation in Britain for forest and tree-related research and the main contractor undertaking research programmes for the Forestry Commission.