"Celebrating the past, excited about the future"
In 2019 we will celebrate the centenary of the first Forestry Act, which created the Forestry Commission and recognised the importance of forestry to the UK.
Over subsequent decades, our island was brought back from the brink of complete deforestation, with less than 5% tree cover, to the present level of 13%. Within lifetimes, we have seen newly-created timber plantations mature into productive and multi-benefit forests.
The past century rediscovered UK forestry in a society which had lost its forest culture. But in the coming century, forestry will become crucial to our society’s very existence. The International Panel on Climate Change reported in October that keeping global temperature increase within 1.5° is imperative to avoid far-reaching consequences; and the deadly wildfires that have destroyed the town of Paradise in California provide a horrific reminder of what this means. A report launched last month by the Committee on Climate Change (see p6/7) states that to contribute sufficiently to this urgent global effort, up to 50,000 hectares new woodland creation per year for the next thirty years will be required, focusing on fast-growing conifers to be manufactured into timber products which lock up the carbon for as long as possible.