Roderick Leslie, co-founder of Our Forests!, has released a new book on the future of the public forest estate.
Timed to coincide with the Queen’s Speech, Forest Vision urges the government to cease stalling on the introduction of forestry legislation. The author said: ‘This is the Government’s chance to end 3 years of uncertainty since the forest sales U-turn in 2011.’
Proposals put forward at the end of January, he says, should meet with wide support. ‘They mirror the recommendations of Bishop James Jones’ Independent Forestry Panel and give the Government the opportunity to close this embarrassing episode – and ensure forest sales don’t become an election issue next year.’
Forest Vision tells the extraordinary story of how the Forestry Commission, managers of our nationally-owned forests, went from environmental pariah after the Flow Country controversy of the late 1980s to popular heroes in 2011. ‘It looked like the end in 1988 when Chancellor Lawson removed the tax incentives driving upland conifer afforestation. It is hard to believe that, 23 years later, over half a million people signed the 38 degrees petition against selling off the forests.’
The Forestry Commission survived because it recognised it had lost public confidence and set about changing the things people hated, completely re-designing its forests, embracing nature conservation and dramatically developing its already popular countryside recreation. From England’s first nesting Ospreys for 100 years in 2001, to becoming the home of British mountain biking, the nationally owned forests have become part of more and more people’s lives.
Now, as the book describes, there are even bigger challenges for the future: Forestry Commission restoration of derelict land round our towns and cities opens up new opportunities for development and the environment, whilst forests and woodlands have a growing profile in tackling climate change, slowing the flow of flood waters and producing low-carbon woodfuel.
‘The Forestry Commission story proves that imaginative management can create a powerful synergy between the economy and the environment that saves money, creates jobs and increases the resilience of our environment to the increasingly frequent shocks of extreme weather,’ Roderick Leslie claims.
To obtain a copy of Forest Vision, please send a cheque for £12.99 + £2.50 p&p (UK only) to:
R.Leslie, 8 Somerset St, Bristol BS2 8NB.
For further information, such as BACS details and overseas postal rates, please contact the author on firstname.lastname@example.org.