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Seeing the wood for the trees



Seeing the Wood for the Trees is the title of the South East England Regional Forestry Framework Document.  This government England Forestry Strategy document A New Focus for Englands Woodlands, published in 1998, was the basis for each region to develop its own strategy to address the issues and objectives raised in the national strategy.  At regional level, the forestry strategy was developed to be in accord with the Integrated regional Strategy and the Regional Planning Guidance (RPG 9) of the time.  A consultation document on the Forestry Framework for the South East was produced in March 2004, the responses from which helped form the final version Seeing the Wood for the Trees published later in 2004.  The Framework is overseen by Steering Group of the South East Forestry and Woodlands Partnership which comprises members representing the following organisations (some of whose names have subsequently changed):

Natural England
Environment Agency
Confederation of Forest Industries (ConFor)
Forestry Commission
Regional Advisory Committee of the Forestry Commission (RAC). Subsequently changed to Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee(FWAC)
Woodland Trust

In 2007 a new government strategy, A Strategy for England’s Trees, Woods and Forests was published.  An national implemention plan for this strategy is currently being written after which the regional forestry frameworks will need to be reviewed to be in line with this.

Structure of the Framework
The regional framework was divided into 4 themes, each containing a number of related benefits (outputs) from woodland and the objectives to achieve those benefits.  Witihin each theme a priority topic was chosen that gained particular focus from the steering group.  Please download the regional framework document from the link below for full information.  Examples of the work being done to support each Theme can be seen on the page linked to the particular theme.

Theme 1: Better Places for People to Live

Priority Topic: Sustainable Communities

Theme 2: Enhanced Environment and Biodiversity 
Priority Topic: Ancient Woodland

Theme 3: A Stronger Contribution to the Economy 
Priority Topic: Renewable Energy

Running a forestry contracting business or selling woodland produce is time consuming and hard work, leaving little time to do anything other than the job itself.  See our Business Management page for suggestions and contacts, which may help you improve your business management skills and the marketing of your products.


Theme 4: A secure Future for our Woodland Resources 
Completed Priority Topic: Regional Spatial Planning

Priority Topic: Skills and Training
There are various issues associated with skills and training within the sector such as:

  • Ageing workforce – not enough young people coming into the industry
  • Cost of training – most workers are paid for jobs done (as opposed to being waged) and therefore attending training means forgoing income as well as having the various expenses involved in the training itself
  • Some small businesses are finding difficulty keeping up to date with paperwork associated with the increasing amount of legislation for the sector.
  • The Rural Development Program for England (RDPE) provides subsidised forestry related courses under training categories including ‘Business Management’, ‘Country Skills’, ‘Forestry and Woodland related Activities’, ‘Health & Safety’, ‘IT’, ‘Machinery Operation and Maintenance’, ‘Marketing & Sales’ and ‘Construction’.


Publications relating to the Regional Forestry Framework are downloadable from the publications page.

Download the Regional Forestry and Woodlands Framework (PDF: 3.68MB / 64 pages)

Framework Summary (PDF:2.8MB/ 4 pages) 

Guidance for Planners - Implementing the draft South East Woodland Policy NRM5

RFF - 2 years on! (pdf:311k/2 pages)

Last updated: 29th June 2018
A tree showing that the four key themes of the RFF are connected

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