Today is the International Day of Forests, a day renowned worldwide to celebrate our planet’s forests and trees. It underscores the importance of education at all levels in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation. Judith Peachey, Landmarc’s Forestry Harvesting and Marketing and Arboriculture Advisor, talks about our role in sustainable forestry management across the Ministry of Defence training estate.
“Landmarc’s vast experience in working within the complex and dynamic environments of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) training estate has enabled us to gain a strong knowledge of the forests and woodland that we manage. In fact, the MOD training estate comprises around 190,000 hectares of some of the most valuable habitats and landscapes in Great Britain, which we are responsible for maintaining.
“Each of the locations we look after has its own set of individual and unique challenges, but traditional forestry in public woodlands tends to focus on balancing effective management with recreation and conservation. Our primary aim is to provide a safe place for military training and create a woodland environment that troops can use to achieve their training objectives, but we are also responsible for commercial harvesting and woodland management, as well as promoting conservation, recreation, biodiversity and biosecurity.
“Our commercial harvesting operation is carried out on a gain/share basis between the MOD and Landmarc, generating revenue to re-invest into the estate. Although our forests are not completely self-sufficient, they are able to provide a substantial amount of funding to ensure that we are able to practice sustainable forestry management in line with MOD policies, which includes environmental improvements such as new woodland planting and track maintenance.
“Woodland and forests make up 20,000 hectares of MOD training estates and are located in some of the UK’s most sensitive landscapes. That’s why we ensure the right skills and knowledge are in place to manage these assets and environments appropriately.
“Our rural specialists across the UK are available to advise on all aspects of tree management, from establishing new woodland through to sustainable harvesting and re-stocking and ensuring tree health is maintained. In the last 12 months, our forestry reinstatement programmes have seen us restock more than 100 hectares of sites we have harvested (planting approximately 250,000 trees), planting up new hedgerows, reinstating tracks that have been damaged by heavy machinery and timber haulage vehicles and looking at innovative ways of clearing harvesting sites – clearing and chipping brash so it can be used in electricity generation, rather than raking and burning, which is not environmentally friendly.
“For us here at Landmarc, we’re passionate about doing our bit to ensure UK forests are here and enjoyed for decades to come. After all, healthy forests mean healthy, resilient communities and prosperous economies.”