Northwoods - Funded forestry programme launches call for woodland owners and innovators

A new three-year programme has launched today, 22nd September, to bring more woodland into active management in the North East and Yorkshire by working with woodland owners and forestry innovators.

Northwoods, a programme funded by the Forestry Commission through the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds (WiMFIF) – part of the UK Government’s Nature for Climate Fund – has been established to accelerate innovative approaches and technology to stimulate practical action in unmanaged and undermanaged woodlands, as well as improve biodiversity and sustainability.

Presently around 41% of our woodlands are not actively managed and this can have a negative impact on the biodiversity they contain. By increasing the area of woodlands in active management, these funds aim to restore vulnerable woodland habitats and help woodlands adapt to a changing climate and recover from the impacts of pests and diseases.

The programme will deliver fully funded expert advice, one-to-one innovation support, events, webinars, networking, technology demonstrations (including through providing access to forestry sites) and will survey stakeholders to establish their opinions of woodland management. Northwoods is being managed by Northumberland-based low carbon heat and forestry consultancy, Reheat, joined by a consortium of industry experts, including Sylva Foundation, Timber Auctions, RDI Associates, Martin Glynn FICFor, and Green Business Finance.

The programme is open to all types of woodland owners, including those from across the public, private and charity sectors, and particularly those interested in bringing areas of unmanaged woodland back into management, or with an interest in forestry innovation. Solutions such as electrification of the forest and timber supply chains, the rise of mapping technology and the myForest app (managed by Sylva Foundation) will be explored and demonstrated throughout the programme.

Reheat director, Neil Harrison, said: “Northwoods has the potential to be an important tool for addressing major challenges in today’s forestry market, as well as educating programme participants about the future of woodland management. We will demonstrate how innovation and technology can be implemented and work closely with those operating in forestry and those seeking to enter woodland management. The outputs from Northwoods promise to be truly significant, so I urge woodland owners and innovators to get involved.”

Forestry Commission Grant Manager, Jack Clough, said: “The Forestry Commission are delighted to be providing support for this project which will enable woodland owners of all types to overcome barriers to management. Through the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds, the Forestry Commission are supporting a range of projects, including Northwoods, designed to improve the ecological condition of our woodlands”

The call to register interest with the Northwoods programme is now open, and those wishing to find out more or participate should visit the website northwoods.org.uk, as well as engage with the programme on social media: Twitter (@northwoods_wm) and LinkedIn (Northwoods Woodland Management).

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