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  • The Forestry Commission have just launched the Woodland Carbon Fund, which aims to support the creation of productive woodlands over 30 hectares in England.

    The fund is simpler than the offer via the Countryside Stewardship scheme, and is wholly operated by the Forestry Commission with none of the scheme process being controlled by the Rural Payments Agency. This simplicity will be welcomed by many, however the flipside of sitting outside the Countryside Stewardship scheme is ineligibility for Basic Payments for the land covered by the scheme, and for maintenance payments for woodland creation.

    More details are available here: www.forestry.gov.uk/england-wcf

  • The newly published report compares continuous cover forestry techniques with clearfell ones - specifically their impact on breeding bird populations.

    The summary notes that “Stand structure is an important determinant of habitat quality for forest biodiversity and is influenced by management. In conifer plantations, the varied structure created within a stand by continuous cover forestry (CCF) systems has been expected to be better for woodland birds than the range of discrete stand structures created through rotations of clearfelling and replanting (CFR). This study compared the number of breeding bird species (species richness) and their abundance within Sitka spruce stands which have been managed under CCF and by CFR. The study showed that species richness within CCF stands was higher than in CFR but young growth stages of CFR were important for some birds. Bird species richness is further influenced by the presence of a woody understorey or scrub vegetation structure. When stand types were ranked by species richness alone, CCF with a shrubby understorey was the most species rich, followed by CCF without a shrubby understorey, with young CFR and then older CFR being the least species rich.”


  • TransPennine Express and the Forestry Commission would like to inspire people to make a positive improvement to their local area.

    The TPE and FC Transform Grants are available for community initiatives that aim to address one or more of the following:

    • Environmental improvements
    • Social inclusion
    • Youth unemployment

    The grants are for a maximum of £5000 and applications must be in by 30 November.

    Contact James Bickley for more details at james.anderson-bickley@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

  • Mixed ash woodland in Cumbria

    As ash dieback is identified in the county, Cumbria Woodlands has been successful in applying for £40,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to improve ash tree and mixed ash woodland management. Ash trees are an important ecological and cultural asset in Cumbrian woodlands and the wider landscape. Experience in mainland Europe suggests that ash dieback will devastate ash tree populations as well as the flora and fauna that are dependent on ash. Scientific research is underway, but Cumbria Woodlands feel there is an immediate problem for woodlands now, as managers do not know how to respond to the threat. Nearly all ash woodland is in private ownership, so it is particularly important that effective management advice is provided. The project will bring together woodland managers, forestry professionals, ecologists and regulators to improve communication on ash dieback management. This will mitigate the short term effects of ash dieback, as well as constitute an investment in longer term woodland management when it comes to pests and diseases. The project will set up trial sites as an engagement and education tool.

    Cultural Heritage

    Cumbria is home to many individual ancient ash trees, some pollarded or coppiced over hundreds of years as part of ancient farming practices. Ash responds well to being coppiced or pollarded, providing feed for stock, wood fuel, charcoal, hammers, axes, spades, spears, bows and oars. Veteran ash are an iconic landscape feature and form an important cultural link to past land management practices dating back to the Vikings.

    Ecological Heritage and biodiversity

    They are one of the last trees to come into full leaf in spring, and lose their leaves early in autumn. This allows sunlight to reach the woodland floor, providing crucial habitat for wildflowers such as dog violets, campion, garlic and consequently, rare and threatened insects such as the high brown fritillary butterfly. Ash are also particularly valuable as host to deadwood invertebrates, including the lesser stag beetle, as well as rare species of lichens, mosses and liverworts. Birds like the bullfinch rely on ash seeds as their staple food in winter, and other birds such as the redstart, woodpecker, nuthatch and barn owl use ash trees as nesting sites because of the natural hollows that often develop in the tree trunk.

    We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out this project, because we want to do what we can to respond to the arrival of ash dieback in Cumbria. We are confident that this project will help us to make Cumbria’s ash trees and ash woodland better managed and more resilient, and we look forward to finding out more about the cultural and ecological heritage of Cumbria’s ash trees.

    About Heritage Lottery Fund: Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery

    For further information, please contact Clare de Villanueva at Cumbria Woodlands via clare@cumbriawoodlands.co.uk.

  • Nu’gen have just launched a new grant for Copeland, Allerdale and Barrow District, especially in areas close to the new Nuclear New build site. The Green Grants are for environmental projects, with the criteria being pretty wide, further details can be found here.

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