Major revision January 1990
FR100 Over the largest part of the earth, forests are the natural climax vegetation. They are central to the ecosphere that provides us with fresh air, clean water, fertile soil and climatic stability. Any forestry policy must take account of this. Forestry has the greatest potential for feeding humans and animals and providing a renewable fuel as well as timber.
FR102 Before 2,500 BC, the United Kingdom was almost entirely covered with forest, mainly hardwood. Since these times, through agriculture and the industrial revolution, this was reduced to around 5% by the beginning of this century. It has now increased slightly, to 8%, largely by the direct or indirect activity of the Forestry Commission. This planting, since the First World War, however, has mostly been monoculture of exotic conifers. However, we are still importing 90% of our forestry products, valued at Â£4,500 million per year, our second largest import.
FR200 (A) To be more self-sufficient, by maximising the quantity and quality of all forest products, in such a manner as to cause minimal disturbance to the ecological balance. It is recognised that products include timber, recreational facilities, amenity value, conservation and the control of erosion, drought and flooding.
FR201 (B) To move all existing woodlands towards an ecologically balanced and natural state. The planting of diverse woodlands with native species would move away from the current practice of monoculture. Ancient woodland would be given special protection. (see also CY570-572)
To Obtain (A)
To Obtain (B)
FR310 Encourage, by grant or other financial aid, the planting of native species, especially as second generation crops. Similarly, encourage ecologically balanced and rich management systems, such as mixed species crops, selection forests (as opposed to clear felling systems), coppice with standards etc. The Forestry Commission to follow suit. (see CY542)
FR311 Restrict the use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers. At the same time, research into the biological control of pests should be promoted (e.g. at present the grey squirrel makes it very difficult to establish hardwoods in some areas).
a)the cheaper methods of establishing and managing hardwoods;
b)the effects of afforestation on local ecosystems;
c)the effects of different types of management on the local ecosystems.
To Obtain (C)
FR320 Encourage new planting with higher grant aid and other financial incentives. Make forestry more competitive with farming and shooting. Agriculture and forestry should be more closely integrated.
To Obtain (D)
FR330 Encourage the creation of community forests, owned, managed and used by the local population, thereby enhancing local employment opportunities. Community forests are very common on the Continent, being managed by a local committee, community association or local authority. The local coordinator could seek the involvement of schools, local clubs and institutes, voluntary groups, naturalists etc. and publicise the work being done.
FR333 Local people, through their local coordinator and planning authority, should be given the power to prevent unsound forestry and ecologically damaging practices in local woodlands, even if privately owned.
FR340 Create the post of Local Forestry Coordinator, who would operate at county or district level and would probably be a locally elected person or an employee of the local authority. It would be the duty of the coordinator to liaise with all interested groups at a local level and keep growers and consumers aware of each other's needs.
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