1 The value of Woodlands

The value of Woodlands

By Laurence Gale MSc

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With little over 7% of the country left covered in woodland, it is vitally important that we try to maintain and sustain our remaining woodland resources in the UK. There are many Government agencies working together towards a sustainable woodland strategy. In fact there are many new initiatives and incentives for landowners to get involved with the management and stewardship of woodlands.

The vision is to create a great variety of well-managed woodlands. These will include woodlands for a variety of functions including: timber production to strengthen local economies; woodlands for economic regeneration, woodlands for access and recreation; and woodlands for biodiversity to enhance our environment.

The Forestry commission have launched a number of Forestry Commission Strategies that will require new approaches to education, communication and information. Engaging people, actively involving local communities and creating public support are vital if the aspirations of the Commision's plans are to be succeed.

The England Forestry Strategy describes how the Government will deliver its forestry policies in England and sets out the Government's priorities and programmes for forestry for the next five to ten years. The Strategy will help focus debate on how Government can work together with partners in other organisations to ensure that woodlands benefit all communities.

Native woodlands contain an enormous biodiversity with berrying shrubs, wildflowers, insects, animals, birds, bats, mosses, liverworts and lichens. The wealth of diversity found in a developing aging woodland is immense. treesand-woodland-golf.jpg

Golf courses would be dull facilities without treescapes and woodland backdrops. Golf course design is often shaped by the backdrop these woodlands and plantations provide, both in the size, scale and diversity of form and shape. The woodlands provide a wildlife corridor, a home and resource for food for all the wildlife that exists on golf courses.

The wildlife value of a woodland is also determined by its soil type and climate. For example:

Across the Peak District there are 4 different woodland habitat types of particular importance for wildlife:

  • Ashwoods restricted to the steep calcareous limestone dale sides of the White Peak and home to species such as lily-of-the-valley.

  • Oak/Birchwoods found in the gritstone cloughs of the Dark Peak and South West Peak, once home to the black grouse.

  • Wet woodlands are mainly confined to the Dark Peak and South West Peak and support a wide variety of wildlife, including the otter.

  • Parkland is found mostly in the Dark Peak and is inextricably linked with veteran trees.

  • A veteran tree is of great value to wildlife due to its impressive age or size, favouring species such as fungi, insects and birds that require deadwood to feed on.

As with most things in life if we do not manage or maintain these woodland resources they often will deteriorate and decline, eventually ceasing to provide all the added benefits they usually can offer. It is important that golf clubs are made aware of the values woodlands bring the club and playing members. They must allocate time and resources to help sustain and improve tree populations and woodland resources at their golf course.

Golf Clubs should be collating records and information on what they have at their course. A tree survey is essential to establish size, age and health and species of trees you have. Once clubs have recorded this information they can collate a management strategy (10-30 year plan of what you want to achieve at a course).

There are many Tree Consultants and Governing bodies that can offer help in producing such strategies and plans, as well as helping Golf courses receive possible funding streams to help pay for these activities. The English Woodland Grant Scheme is one such scheme.

English Woodland Grant Scheme

(The information below is courtesy of the Forestry Commission).

English Woodland Grant Scheme

ewgs logoThe English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) is the Forestry Commission's suite of grants designed to develop the co-ordinated delivery of public benefits from England's woodlands.

The scheme is now open to applications for payment year 2008/09. Closing dates for all regional grants can be found on the Regional Prospectuses page.

The aims of the EWGS are to:

* sustain and increase the public benefits given by existing woodlands and
* help create new woodlands to deliver additional public benefit.

Before applying for an EWGS both you and your land must be registered.

To apply for a grant:

1. choose the appropriate grant(s) from the table below and check the Regional Prospectuses page for availability in your region
2. obtain a map as detailed in section 4 of EWGS1 General Guide (PDF 150kb)
3. use the Land Information Search (LIS) to inform and improve your application
4. check the FAQs and advice if you have any queries.

Woodland Category

Grant Type

What the grant is for

Stewardship of existing woodlands

Woodland Planning Grant (WPG)

Preparation of plans that both assist with management of the woodland and meet the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme.

Woodland Assessment Grant (WAG)

Gathering of information to improve management decisions.

Woodland Regeneration Grant (WRG)

Supporting desirable change in woodland composition through natural regeneration and restocking after felling.

Woodland Improvement Grant (WIG)

Work in woodlands to create, enhance and sustain public benefits.

Woodland Management Grant (WMG)

Contribution to additional costs of providing and sustaining higher-quality public benefits from existing woodlands.

Creation of new woodlands

Woodland Creation Grant (WCG)

Encouraging the creation of new woodlands where they deliver the greatest public benefits, including annual Farm Woodland Payments to compensate for agricultural income forgone.

The Forestry Commission operates EWGS under the England Rural Development Programme (ERDP). EWGS is part of the Defra family of environmental support. Further information can be found in Funding for Farm Woodlands in England.

References :Forestry Commision www.forestry.gov.uk

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