There are numerous ways that communities, local authorities and businesses can derive benefits from trees. While some of these are covered in the case studies, this section of the archive provides a brief overview of some of the opportunities for realising trees and woodlands benefits:

i. Economic

a. Woodland Produce and Timber Production and Marketing
Trees...provide substantial market opportunities

Timber production for the UK market offers a number of opportunities:

  • Silvicultural systems and woodland management practices aimed at the production of high quality timber could be promoted and supported.
  • Encouragement of co-operation between owners to facilitate more economic management, awareness of market needs and joint marketing of produce.
  • The development of advisory and information services for woodland management and marketing, including publication of regional timber prices.
  • Encouragement of co-operation between growers to agree long-term supply contracts with markets.
  • Pooling of timber to allow better market segmentation.
  • Continued awareness raising programmes fully supported by timber growers.
  • Increased use of local timber by craftsmen. Although this is likely to utilise only a small quantity of the timber produced in the region, it would raise the profile of the material.
  • Provision of training, skills development, business advice to make businesses more innovative and competitive.
  • Development of silvopastoral systems in suitable woodlands.
  • Development of niche markets for fungi, fruit and berries and licensed collection of fungi, fruit and berries.
  • Raise awareness of the local timber resource and its use in sustainable procurement practices.
  • Develop market outlets to facilitate purchase of local products.
  • Encourage craft workers and other wood users to use local wood.
  • Develop local branding.

b. Renewable energy
Trees...deliver renewable energy

Have you considered if you have woodland or are there wood residues from arboriculture activities in your area? Or is your community considering establishing a community forest/woodland? If so then there may be opportunities to earn from energy production using wood:

  • Are there opportunities for heat and power generation or to develop district biomass (woodchip) heating?
  • Have you considered producing your own energy?
  • Is there a potential business opportunity for woodchip or log production?
  • Can you use trees to help communities to adapt to climate change?
  • Are there particular communities that would benefit?
  • When looking at planning applications is there scope for biomass heating?
  • Are you concerned about ‘peak oil’
  • Would your community benefit from a community forest or woodland?
  • Do you have a community facility such as a hall where heating could be converted to a biomass boiler?

c. Tourism and recreation
Trees... generate tourism income

As recreation and tourism is a major part of the economy it offers many significant opportunities:

  • Have you considered woodland settings for tourism and recreation related business?
  • What kind of training would provide an enterprise base?
  • Are there opportunities for suppliers to support tourist endeavours?
  • Are there opportunities to link attractions together in a package?
  • Is there a business case for providing new woodland for ‘green burials’ or other business opportunities where there aren’t any at present?
  • Can long term timber production be linked to other tourist/recreation based businesses?
  • Has your business considered contributing to the carbon saving of the country?
  • Providing formal recreation facilities in larger woodland areas; offering economic opportunities for local businesses ensuring self-financing or gain for local communities.

ii. Social

a. Opportunities for health
Trees...make a positive contribution to our health

A wide range of initiatives could be undertaken that would have health benefits:

  • Projects which promote moderate outdoor exercise and conservation work for health,
  • Opportunities for expansion of the NHS forest http://www.nhsforest.org/
  • Increase the availability of accessible woodland near to where people live and work, thereby increasing accessibility to a wider range of socio-economic and other groups

b. Access
To deliver recreation, health and economic returns there needs to be accessible woodland. Some suggested opportunities for increasing access are:

  • Information on the location of accessible woodlands,
  • Increasing access in existing woodlands, particularly those in leasehold by the Forestry Commission or in private ownership. Although this may require financial support and guidance on how to manage public access,
  • Planting of new woodland where existing accessible woodland is unavailable. This will particularly be in urban-fringe areas. Potential to build on the expertise developed within the Community Forests,
  • Engagement with local communities enabling public participation in woodland creation and management to foster a sense of involvement and responsibility,
  • Good design to ensure developments incorporate publicly accessible green space with substantial tree cover, and
  • Archaeological surveys could involve volunteers, and be aimed at identifying pre-wooded land-use e.g. medieval warrening and Neolithic flint mining in the Brecklands.

iii. Environmental

a. Biodiversity.
Most opportunities for biodiversity are included in existing Local Biodiversity Action Plans. However, some of the proposed activities could be instigated at the East of England level:

  • Develop opportunity maps for habitat restoration and re-creation that include both woodland and non-woodland habitats.
  • Through improving awareness of the importance of trees and woodlands in biodiversity, particularly within urban areas.
  • By actions to help ensure woodland SPAs, SACs and SSSIs are brought into favourable condition.
  • By raising awareness of the Wild Venison Project and the Deer Initiative (see case study links).
  • Through promoting awareness of the importance of woodland management for biodiversity.

b. Restoration
There may be scope for increasing woodland on land that requires remediation and restoration:

  • Operational land – in active working (especially mineral working and waste disposal) by planting around the operational area to provide screening;
  • Vacant land – previously used but inactive for a significant period of time; derelict or poorly restored land
    – previously used but damaged and incapable of future use without treatment; contaminated land
    – represents an actual or potential hazard to health or the environment.

c. Flood reduction.
There may be opportunities to use trees to reduce the flow of water and thereby reducing flooding.

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