FORESTRY England has published a new plan, ‘Growing the future: 2021–26’, which outlines its response to the crisis for wildlife, the changing climate and people’s connection to nature.

It highlights what it intends to achieve as the country’s largest land manager over and above the daily, sustainable management of the nation’s 1,500 forests for people, nature and wildlife.

Addressing climate concerns, the next five years will see at least 2,000 ha of high-quality new woodlands planted, as well as greater structural and tree species diversity in the nation’s forests to support adaptation to climate change and securing a sustainable timber supply for future generations. There will be continued investment in research to help maintain diversity and resilience, adapting to the impacts of climate change on forest landscapes.

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Forestry England said it will invest in skilled people and new partnerships to support an expansion of the nation’s forests, continue to restore and help habitats and landscapes to adapt, and offer over one million cubic metres of sustainable timber to market each year.

Wilding activities will be integrated into at least 6,000 ha of productive forests, and improvements will be made in the condition of exceptional conservation sites, including ancient woodlands, open habitats, wetlands and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

This means Forestry England will identify potential key sites in its working forests where it can use more wilding activities, such as low-density grazing and more meandering watercourses. It will also reintroduce and translocate plant and animal species to support the rich ecosystems in the nation’s forests.

Forestry England also has ambitions to boost diversity among its visitors and launch a national membership scheme, enabling more people to be aware of and enjoy the benefits the nation’s forests have to offer.

Further details will be published of how, where and when these activities will take place across England.

Read the five-year plan here.

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