Community or state-managed forestry? The Improving Forest Governance participants visit Cannock Chase and Wales to find out more

16 July 2015
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As part of the 6-week Improving Forest Governance course, 46 participants from 22 timber producing and processing countries undertook three field visits to Wales, Cannock Chase and Lathams Timber Yard.

Long Wood Community Woodland

On 13 June 2015 the IFG group headed to rural west Wales to visit a community woodland group. Long Wood Community Woodland is a 121 hectare site regarded as Plantation on Ancient Woodland (PAWS), which lies just north of Lampeter in County Ceredigion. Long Wood is a long-established group that has faced many challenges but remain a strong and cohesive group. IFG participants were hosted by the managing board and the staff for talks, and received tours of the woodland, sawmill and crafts with the local community group members.

The key themes of the study visit were to look at: how community forest management differs from state control; and look at the opportunities for communities to generate income from a woodland as a social enterprise. The group stayed in Aberystwyth, and were hosted by the community in the evening and received a wonderful performance from Cwmann & District Male Voice Choir.

Download the Long Wood Field Trip Guide.

Cannock Chase

On 18 Jun 2015 the IFG participants visited Cannock Chase to find out how the public forest estate is managed in England. Cannock Chase forest is a public (government) forest managed by the Forestry Commission (FC), and is utilized for recreational purposes, timber production and conservation. The IFG group met local staff to find out how key long term decisions are taken and implemented, and in particular to hear about how forest management planning handles competing priorities for the long-term benefit of both people and the environment.

The key themes of this study visit were to look at the governance of public forests in England; forest management planning and consultation; certification of timber, recreation and the social role of public forests and how the FC responds to climate change.

Latham’s Timber Yard

On 17th June as part of the module on Developing Trade Incentives, IFG participants were hosted by James Latham’s Timber Yard, in Dudley. The theme of the visit was to learn about how a UK company imports sustainable and legal timber, and the processes and systems through which that is realized.