The Forestry Commission is a bit of an anachronism - a state timber outfit. Why does the State need to be a timber grower? I reckon there would be a better argument for State Farms or State Fishing Fleets than State foresters.
The public interest in our State Forests is not because we are all hanging on the price of pulp wood it's because we like some of the forests that are not very commercial but are wonderful places and happen, through history and accident, to be managed by FC. Places like much of the New Forest and much of the Forest of Dean.
We, the public, appreciate the fact that some of these sites are rich in wildlife, beauty and history. The good sites would be even richer if they were managed by a body whose remit was to make them as wonderful as possible - which is not FC's remit at the moment. And that job, making the most of our natural heritage, need not, and should not, be mixed up with another remit of producing timber economically. Timber production is a business like many others, certainly quite like wheat production, where the State's proper role is in regulation and providing incentives and that's about it.
See previous blogs to realise that the RSPB saw the forestry debate coming and helped to shape it (here, here, here, here, here, here, here - and that's just a selection).
Trees did die to produce this book, but do you really mind whether they were State-managed or not?
With an extra 4% of land asked for by the FC to be planted up it seems that the private sector are very poor at coming forward especially if you are looking at least 40 years before any return. Any way most of this new planting may well come in the form of 'carbon capture' with £144 billion being lost out of Europe from industry to 'Mafia' mobs to deal with their carbon. I am presently trying to work with the FC to start this ball rolling. A good example is here at Geltsdale where 100,000 trees were planted for Black Grouse. Did the RSPB receive any money for 'carbon capture'? Proper planting could be a great way of increasing many bird species. As mentioned before my planting back in the 1980s now holds Black Grouse.
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