The world in our forests: the place of SW woodlands in international forestry

27 February 2013

What was the event?

It is easy, as we make our way around the region’s woodland, to think ourselves to be working at the centre of a purely English idyll. Home Covert, Great Bradley Wood, New Park, Smith’s Copse: the kind of names that tie us it would seem to centuries of English rural history. But in the same way that English history has always been set by events across the globe, so forestry in south west England is a corollary of forest policies from the four corners.

In just the last two years, for example, many of us have been felling dying stands of a species whose native range is in the far east, that is now suffering from a rampaging disease newly arrived from the far west. We take the timber to sawmills who may or may not want it depending how muchtimber they have bought in from Latvia or Sweden. If we are in luck the people of Latvia and Sweden will be selling most of their timber to the people of India and China and so we will be able to sell ours to a sawmill 10 miles up the road, certificated by a body with a head office in Mexico. Later on we will restock the cleared sites with financial help from the taxpayers of Germany, France and Sweden, to name but a few.

As we head into the introspection of winter, this meeting gave a chance to look outward on our place in the world. And where better than the Eden Project to consider regional forest management in a global context? Speakers covered issues including:

  • International timber trading in the SW
  • The influence of European Union policies on SW forestry
  • International Forest Certification
  • Managing global tree disease#Internationally important forest habitats in SW England
  • The role of forestry in combating global poverty
  • Experience of pests and disease, quarantine and biosecurity at the Eden Project

The day consisted of an inward-looking morning session and an outward-looking afternoon session separated by a two hour space for a visit the Eden Project itself. The regional group AGM took place after lunch.

Dr Joan Webber of Forest Research spoke on managing global tree disease.

Event website

Who was the event suitable for?

Anyone in tree work but principally practicing forest managers and owners of managed woods where international policy and markets prevail.

Where did the event take place?

Eden Project
St Austell
Cornwall PL24 2SG


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