The latest news from Forest Research.
February 2018
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News from Forest Research

In this edition:
Encouraging fun and fitness in the forest
Our social and statistical scientists have evaluated the three-year Active Forest pilot programme that was funded by Sport England with support from Forestry Commission England. The evaluation looked at factors such as the types of sporting activities undertaken, the age ranges of those participating, what their perceived benefits were of their new activity and whether the programme brought lasting behaviour change. The top ten findings are now available, along with both summary and full reports of the evaluation.
25 year environment plan
In January, Defra published A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment. For forestry, the plan suggests designing a new woodland creation grant scheme, the publication of a Tree Health Resilience Plan later in 2018, exploring new models of investment for research into the healthy environment (including research into tree and plant health) and appointing a ‘Tree Champion’. The full document is available online.
Interim guidance on the integrated management of Hylobius abietis
A new report outlines the latest guidance on the integrated pest management of the insect Hylobius abietis. It draws on some key findings from an ongoing programme of collaborative forest industry research into alternatives to the use of the insecticide cypermethrin. It also summarises knowledge and guidance on the safe use of the insecticide acetamiprid, which is increasingly being phased in across the UK forest industry as an alternative to cypermethrin.
New Research Report published
Timber, carbon and wind risk: towards an integrated model of optimal rotation length focuses on the development of a prototype integrated optimal rotation length model. The model is integrated in the sense that it accounts for timber production, climate change mitigation in terms of carbon sequestration and substitution benefits, and climate change adaptation in relation to windthrow risks.
UK’s rarest earthworm species found
A novel research project has unearthed the UK's rarest earthworm. Current distribution records indicate that some UK earthworm species are rare or very rare. However, fieldwork carried out in the Environmental Change Network at Alice Holt forest in Surrey yielded three new records of the nationally very rare species Dendrobaena pygmaea. This may fundamentally change our understanding of earthworm species’ distributions and ecologies.
Valuing Welsh forest resources
A recent report outlines the findings of a study to estimate the value of ecosystem goods and services provided by woodlands in Wales. For example, the total asset value of timber extraction, carbon sequestration, recreation and air quality improvement is estimated to be about £18 billion (in 2015 prices). Both the report and executive summary are available in English and Welsh.
Can we grow oak to 60 cm DBH in under 100 years in Britain?
This is the intriguing question that will be examined on Thursday 19 April during a visit to Crumblands Plantation in Monmouthshire, hosted by Woodland Heritage, Forest Research and Natural Resources Wales. Tickets are free but places are limited and must be booked in advance.
Saving our oak
The plight of our most iconic native tree, the oak, is the subject of a short film released by Woodland Heritage. The film, entitled ‘Saving our Oak’, documents the challenge posed by Acute Oak Decline (AOD) to British oak trees and highlights some of the crucial research underway to counter the disease. Current work, led by Forest Research, aims to investigate the causes, distribution and scale of AOD in the UK, with a view to developing effective management and prevention strategies and predict the risk of spread of the disease. The film explains that saving our oak is a collaborative effort, bringing together organisations and donors with a shared objective to protect our oaks.
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