What ‘rewilding’ really means for forestry

Weatherall, Andrew (2019) What ‘rewilding’ really means for forestry. The Guardian . 24th May 2019.

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Official URL: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/2...

Abstract

The Forestry Commission was established 100 years ago to create a “strategic reserve of timber” after Lloyd George stated “Britain had more nearly lost the war for want of timber than of anything else”. The UK is 50% self-sufficient in food, but only 20% self-sufficient in wood, so we still want timber more than anything else. Any call to redirect subsidies to restore woodlands is welcome (Use farm subsidies to rewild quarter of UK, urges report, 21 May). The Rewilding Britain report states: “Commercial conifer plantations should not be eligible, except where they are removed and replaced with native woodland.” This approach is understandable if the aim is to increase habitat for wildlife. However, plantations are an excellent way to combat climate breakdown, because the growing trees sequester carbon and the forests store it, just like in more natural woodlands, but harvested wood products also provide a carbon substitution effect when used instead of concrete or steel. The report suggests healthier eating can release land from intensive agriculture, but conversely we should be using more, not less, wood. Any different approach in the way land is managed should include plantations, which can also be native trees to produce timber alongside the restoration and expansion of our most precious ancient semi-natural woodlands. Without this we are dependent on greenhouse gas emissions to import wood.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: The Guardian
Publisher: Guardian News & Media Limited
Departments: Forestry and Conservation
Additional Information: Dr Andrew Weatherall, National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria, UK, had this letter published in The Guardian, discussing how plantations are an excellent way to combat climate breakdown.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2019 11:09
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2019 11:09
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/4822

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