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Everything You Need To Know About Sustainable Forestry

by Toni Olukiran

5min read

Currently, 13% of UK land area is made up of forests, and the key to good management of these forests is sustainability. This is vital in order for the woodland ecosystem to remain in good health, enabling it to provide for both people and wildlife for the long term. Here’s the full lowdown on what a sustainable forest is and more of why they’re so important.

What is sustainable forestry?

Sustainable forestry is about finding ways to responsibly balance our need for forest and woodland resources whilst also mimicking the natural processes of disturbance and regeneration to maintain the health of the forest in the long-term.

Sustainable forests are important because, without proper maintenance and care, forests could become a thing of the past. We must support natural ecosystems in forests, as well as supporting industries and livelihoods. It is a fine balance that should be maintained to ensure that forests are being looked after and not exploited, while we can also responsibly use the resources that forests offer. This means that future generations will also be able to reap the benefits of forest resources, which needs to be carefully managed. 

What makes a forest sustainable?

Burning trees selectively is a means of increasing sustainability and of ensuring the forest is able to regenerate. The carbon dioxide that gets released when burning the trees are balanced out by newly planted trees that absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, making it a carbon-neutral process.

It is important to keep the composition of woodland in the right conditions to ensure that wildlife, diverse tree species and ecosystems are maintained. Unsustainable forests lead to species threatened with extinction, so making biodiversity a key priority is a huge part of sustainable forestry. 

As well as this, considering the needs and impacts of humans is also key to striking the balance necessary for sustainable forestry. Ultimately, there is the business element to forestry that means people live in forests, depend on it for work and livelihoods, and the materials collected are essential for many of us in our everyday lives. Ensuring that forestry suits our needs in the most effective and environmentally friendly way possible is key to ensuring its success.

What’s being done to encourage sustainable forestry?

There have been great strides globally to ensure forest practices are more sustainable. The UK has shown a fairly modest effort to protect land, which is perhaps a little unsurprising when considering that the average amount of woodland in the UK is far lower than the average in Europe

Even though most of the UK’s native forests have gone, cleared for farming and settlement centuries ago, the amount of woodland in the UK has doubled in the last hundred years due to a focus on maintaining green spaces. The UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) set the standard of and measures to follow for sustainable forestry, and it must be adhered to— regardless of who owns it, all woodland in the UK must meet its criteria. It has certified all state forests in the UK as sustainably managed, showing a commitment to sustainable practices that we hope only continues to grow. 

Eager to learn more? Check out this blog post from the Woodland Trust, and head to Rainforest Alliance for more information about sustainable forests globally.  

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By Toni Olukiran
Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni


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