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England: North East Woodland Management Training Project Responds to Storm Arwen

A partnership of organisations working with woodland owners across the North East and Yorkshire are responding to the devastation caused to the trees and woodlands of the region by Storm Arwen last weekend.

Funded by the Forestry Commission’s Forestry Innovation Fund, the Woodland Management Focus Area Pilot project has been developing a GIS-based tool to help bring woodlands into management by identifying those with the lowest barriers to being brought into management, and recently started phase two of its activities, which involves a series of online training and information webinars for woodland owners who haven’t historically managed their forests or woodlands, or don’t have the knowledge or skills to do so themselves.

With tens of thousands of trees downed in just a few hours on Friday night and Saturday morning, Arwen has presented a series of challenges to woodland owners and managers which are typically only experienced once in a generation, and rarely at this scale.

There is now a pressing need to ensure that downed and damaged trees are cleared away or made safe, whether they are individual hedgerow trees that have come down across roads, or sections of woodlands or shelterbelts that were either partially or fully felled by the hurricane-force winds.  As well as a legal duty to ensure trees are safe to be around – particularly where they are adjacent to roads or footpaths – owners also have to follow regulations around tree felling which are enforced by the Forestry Commission.

The webinar scheduled for 7th December, which would have been an Introduction to Management Planning, has now been replaced by a special session on helping woodland owners deal with the aftermath of Storm Arwen, and will include expert speakers from the area Forestry Commission team, RDI Associates and re:heat, who are running the overall programme.

The webinar will consider how to deal safely with windblown trees, the effect on timber quality and markets, potential plant health implications, felling licence requirements, insurance and replanting, and will be of benefit to a wide range of woodland owners, farmers, land agents and other land managers.

Forestry professionals are invited to join an industry event being hosted by the Forestry Commission on Monday 13th December, details from yne@forestrycommission.gov.uk.

Bookings for the webinars can be made online at: https://www.ruraldevelopment.org.uk/free-woods-into-management-webinars/

The full seminar programme is:

Tuesday 7th December

CHANGE TO ORIGINAL PROGRAMME – the Management Planning webinar will now be held on Tuesday 8th February 2022

Storm Arwen – managing the impact on trees, woodlands and forests

Tuesday 14th December

Management Operations – different ways to manage on the ground

Tuesday 11th January

Regulations and Incentives – grants, licences, tax and planning permission

Tuesday 18th January

Selling Your Timber – making sure you get the best value for your timber

Tuesday 25th January

Using Your Own Timber – firewood and woodfuel production and use

Tuesday 1st February

Woodlands and Climate Change – getting your woodlands ready and how woodlands can help you cope with a changing climate

Tuesday 8th February

An Introduction to Management Planning – setting objectives and planning operations

Tuesday 15th February

To be decided – see below*

Tuesday 22nd February

To be decided – see below*

*The subject of the two final webinars will be decided by attendees of the earlier webinars.  Attendees will be asked to nominate topics of interest and we’ll put it to a vote.