by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Recent statistics that have been released by the Woodland Trust reveal just how quickly Britain’s natural resources are depleting. Produced by the Forestry Commission, the findings, published on 25th September 2014, revealed that the UK is one of Europe’s least wooded countries with only 13% forest cover. The damning statistics urge businesses to choose sustainable choices and ‘go green’ to promote accessible eco-friendly choices .
Key points garnered from the latest report highlight that only 44% of England’s woodland is sustainably managed meaning that over half of England’s forests are at risk from being continuously depleted.
Those latest statistics from the Woodland Trust are a mixed bag. There are some positive developments but we have a long way to go. At present, we are not protecting enough of our forests and woodland in this country. As the least densely covered country in Europe, it is essential that we develop sustainable, environmentally-conscious choices when selecting the products we consume and purchase in day to day life.
Worryingly, not enough businesses are going green, though we hope that these recent statistics will motivate companies to reconsider their professional values and work in conjunction with the environment, rather than against it.
If we want trees to remain a sustainable resource, then we must care for them. We are at a point of no return where we can no longer continue to ravage our natural landscape as we have been. We must rebuild Britain’s forests and woodlands and manage them properly.
Too often, however, woodland management, including coppicing, is seen by people in some quarters as destruction of our woods and forests. This is not the case, though. Non-management, on the other hand, will lead to the total destruction of many of our woods.
If we want our woodlands and forests in Britain (and elsewhere) to continue to thrive then proper sustainable management of the old style, the style or styles that have been practiced for millenia, must be brought back into practice.
Often, when the talk is about protecting our woodlands and forests what is meant by many proponents is to stop all management and all activities and “return the wood” to Nature. And while this sounds very great the truth is that that is the death penalty for many of those woods and forests that have been managed. Without management they will become a wilderness that will benefit no one, not even wildlife.
We must be careful that protecting our forests and woodland in this country does not become a mantra for not doing anything and leaving those forests and woodlands to their own devices. Firstly we would not have any homegrown timber and secondly it would lead, in fact, to the destruction of the very forests and woodlands we mean to “protect”.