ALMOST £4 million is on offer in the latest round of two forestry funds to expand England’s woodlands and futureproof them against pests and diseases.

Applications for the Forestry Commission delivered Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds and the Tree Production Innovation Fund reopened this month, which together boost nature regeneration efforts, promote biodiversity, and support innovative approaches to tree production, tree health, and woodland resilience.

The latter will support the development and deployment of new technologies and ways of working which will provide a diverse supply of healthy young trees, while the former aims to bring an additional 20,000 hectares of existing woodland into active management. 

Both funds, ministers say, will help to bolster timber security and grow the UK’s forestry and primary wood processing sectors. At present, England is falling well short of its efforts to plant 7,000 ha each year.

Richard Stanford, chief executive, Forestry Commission, said: “Our trees and forests are under threat from climate change, pests and diseases. 

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“Trees have to be resilient for the very long term of their lives and we need to innovate to ensure the woods we have, and those we must grow, thrive.”

The closing date for the Tree Production Innovation Fund is Tuesday, May 9. The closing date for the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds is Monday, May 15.