Biodiversity in working forests: a call for case studies

28 October 2019

Confor is preparing a report on how forests contribute to the health of global biodiversity, both by providing systemic solutions to climate change and global forest loss; and by creating habitat in the forest itself. We need your help! We are looking for wide range of case studies from Confor members around the UK to illustrate the importance of forests for wildlife. 

Confor has been highlighting how forests provide systemic solutions to climate change, the biggest global threat to life on earth. Yet the biggest barrier to increasing planting and timber production is concern that it could be at the expense locally of that life on earth – of biodiversity. Views like ‘native is best’, ‘conifers are barren’ and ‘harvesting destroys wildlife’ gain credence, not because they are backed by robust evidence, but because they have not been challenged with it.

To address this, Confor is preparing a report to explore the value of working forests as habitat, delivering net biodiversity gain; as well as demonstrating the essential importance to global biodiversity of the forests’ carbon capture and sustainable timber production.

This report will have two main evidence-bases:

  1. A literature review, summarising the considerable research on biodiversity in planted forests. This will also identify evidence gaps and suggest further research.
  2. Case studies from across the industry, providing examples of working forests delivering biodiversity benefits. This is where I need Confor members’ help!

I am looking to include numerous case studies:

  • Some very short – a quote, statistic, or captioned photo; some more extended
  • From all parts of the UK
  • From all forest types (large, small, conifer, broadleaf, upland, lowland) with timber production as the primary objective
  • Fungi, moss, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, ferns, flowers, birds, mammals…

Case studies might include:

  • How the forest sustains habitat for particular species of conservation concern.
  • How new woodland creation, or bringing neglected woodland into timber production, delivered net biodiversity gain.
  • How timber production (planting, thinning, harvesting) accelerated the natural ecological development of a young forest, through provision of deadwood, light, structural diversity.
  • How you have collaborated with local conservation or community organisations, or landscape-scale projects, to deliver biodiversity aims or educate people about wildlife.
  • How the forest has enhanced adjacent habitats such as freshwater or ancient trees. Are natural habitats within the forest better protected than those in surrounding open land?
  • How UKFS regulation or UKWAS certification have improved the biodiversity of an existing forest over the long term – and how they could be improved.
  • What synergies or trade-offs you have encountered locally between biodiversity and carbon capture / timber production, and how you have balanced and maximised all three.
  • Pictures – worth a thousand words!
  • Quotes – from the forester, owner, scientists or conservationists.

You can email material ( or ring me to discuss (0131 240 1410). Don’t worry about providing finished text: bullet points or existing articles/ reports are fine. The intention is to circulate a draft before the end of the year, for publication early next year.

Deadline: 1 December 2019

I look forward to hearing from you!             

Eleanor Harris, Confor Policy Researcher