Government urged to rethink forest sell off plan
Diggers350-owner at yahoogroups.com
Diggers350-owner at yahoogroups.com
Sun Feb 6 20:30:38 GMT 2011
If nationalising forestry was a disaster, an unthinking sell-off would be worse.
We should fear the breakup of the Forestry Commission less and care about restoring our lost greenwoods more.
Good comment by 'lilolandiae', I think you'll agree.
24 January 2011 1:56PM
I think it has to be understood that the article above is quite simplistic and following a general romantic train of thought which tends to be often associated with preservation of 'England' as a visual panorama for people to enjoy - without consideration of the fact that the 'land' can also be a place of 'work' that has agricultural and scientific biological benefit at the same time.
Unfortunately a lot of journalists and pseudo-academics who have never had any experience working in Forestry or even in agriculture or biodiversity will tend to go along with the same line in relation to coniferous forests, which are unfortunately based mostly on ignorance.
There are various things that people have to consider in relation to the above article.
1. Sitka Spruce was planted for agricultural purposes originally, because the country had a need for woodpulp, which sitka spruce originally provided. Most sustainably sourced paper now generally comes from Scandinavia, which also is mostly covered in coniferous forest. Therefore the Forestry Commision was originally set up to provide for the country's needs.
2. The British Isles is actually made up of 2 climatic zones. One is sub-arctic which is a zone which is best suited to conifer, and the other half is temperate. The fact is that a large varieties of coniferous trees are native to this country and are also managed by the Forestry Comission.
3. The Forestry Commission have a long history in the last few years of sustainable forestry management, which includes re-planting with native species, and they have also supported a wide number of projects to provide grants for planting native temperate species to those that have made the effort to find out about this opportunity.
4. The above article refers to Cannock Chase, a large portion of which is managed by the Forestry Commission for example, which gives a classic example of the Forestry Commission in the modern day of 'today' is able to sustainably manage their forests and woodlands, while providing open healthland areas, and mixed native tree plantations that are managed to blend in to the sustainably managed forest areas for agricultural use at the same time, while providing recreational access to the local community.
5. Sitka Spruce from a 'carbon' point of view, is one of the fastest carbon dioxide absorbers during its life-time. Therefore removal of Sitka Spruce, is actually one of the worst things that any person can do if they are concerned about global warming.
6. Coniferous forests often provide a vast biological diversity which is not necessarily always seen by the untrained eye. This is because the biodiversity is hidden, and a large amount of it, is under the forest surface. Some Coniferous forests have the richest soil fertility on the planet, which is the most depleted organic resource facing the world today.
7. English notions of a romantic countryside unpolluted by people working in it, or using the landscape for 'work' is actually a notion that dates back to the time of the Clearances, when people were removed en masse, and forced to emigrate to places like the US, as a result of sheep being more profitable. This means that a countryside that actually 'works' as part of an effective national agricultural policy in the UK, is something that most people in the UK don't understand. People from other European countries, where being a 'paisano' or 'peasant' is something to be admired and valued, don't have the same romantic notions as English do, since they see the landscape as something that people need to work on, and they also see trees as a resource that needs to be sustainably managed, not just as a romantic place to go for sunday walks with the dog.
I think these issues need to be considered first that the Forestry Commission have a long history of sustainable forestry management, alongside other countries in Northern Europe, where coniferous trees are also part of the natural and working agricultural landscape - by journalists who pose as experts in the 'environment', when it's likely they have never planted a tree in their life.
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> Government urged to rethink forest sell off plan
> The government has come under further criticism over its plans to
> sell much of England's publicly owned woodland.
> At Commons question time on 3 February 2011, MPs from all sides of
> the House pressed ministers to guarantee that the public would still
> be able to access England's national forests after the land had been
> sold or leased.
> Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said ministers had repeatedly
> given assurances to MPs that access and public benefits would be protected.
> But Labour, who tabled an opposition day debate on the proposed sell
> off on 2 February, called on the minister to "stop and think again"
> about pushing ahead with the plans.
> The government launched a consultation on plans to sell off or lease
> England's 258,000-hectare public forest estate - currently managed by
> the Forestry Commission on behalf of the environment, food and rural
> affairs department - to the private sector or to not for profit
> organisations, last week.
> Opponents of the move fear it could compromise nature protection and
> restrict public access to national woodland.
> Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman told MPs: "We need to make it
> absolutely clear that this is a genuine consultation, unlike a lot of
> consultations that I experienced under the last government.
> "We want as many people [as possible] to take part. It is a statutory
> three-month period. Ministers will reflect on those considerations
> and bring to the House our considered view in timely fashion."
> But Mary Creagh, Labour's shadow environment secretary, said the
> government planned to sell off 10,000 hectares of public forest
> before the consultation was over.
> This was more than was sold in Labour's entire period in office, she said.
> "Isn't it the case with the public forests that the honourable lady
> does not know what she is doing or why she is doing it and nobody
> wants her to do it. Is it not time to stop and think again?" she asked.
> Ms Spelman said it was under Labour that public forest estate was
> sold without any guarantee that public access rights would be protected.
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