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Sustainable Forestry: The Need for Nurture

Graham Taylor, Managing Director, (left) and Tom Barnes, MD,

The England Tree Strategy has just been published, the Sixth Global Carbon Budget was recently announced, and the UK government is putting proposals together for COP 26. Trees play a starring role in all of these forums, but “tree Planting” in and of itself is not a solution to our problems. The creation of rich woodland can contribute to sequestering C02 and restoring biodiversity levels, but afforestation requires careful planning and maintenance for the best results. How do we improve the quality of woodland creation?

Often professional foresters are sidelined in such discussions, so it was a great pleasure to recently talk with Graham Taylor, who was awarded an MBE for services to forestry in 2017. Graham and I met at the Bathurst Estate, to discuss sustainable forestry and the need to nurture trees.

The number of tall, straight trees on the estate was astonishing, and the result of many centuries of skilled management. Graham told me that “fundamentally, the estate has been carrying out good forestry practice for multiple generations.”

I spoke with Graham as part of a series I present called ‘Wood for the Trees.’ The series explores the hopes and fears of experts from different perspectives. It’s a side project that I’ve worked on over the past two years, to find out more about what the future might hold for UK forests. As manager of a sawmill specialising in British timber I have a very keen interest in the sustainability of British forestry, and as an environmentalist I hope for transition to a low carbon, biobased economy with a biodiverse landscape.

Wood for the Trees is filmed by nature based filmmaker Charlotte Le Marchant, and the series so far has over 16,000 views on Youtube. There are nine episodes available on vimeo, free of charge and free from adverts.

I ask everyone who takes part in the series what their one policy suggestion would be, and Graham called for some serious investment into solving the grey squirrel problem. There have been a few comments about squirrels already on previous films, so it will be interesting to see what feedback we get this time.

Part 9 of Wood for the Trees, on Sustainable forestry and the need for nurture is out now:

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