Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Forestry funds open to boost biodiversity and futureproof forests against pests, diseases and climate change
- Also published by:
- Forestry Commission
£4m funding will enable innovative projects to enhance tree planting stocks and woodland resilience to help meet Government net zero by 2050 ambitions
- £4m funding will enable innovative projects to enhance tree planting stocks and woodland resilience to help meet Government net zero by 2050 ambitions
- Funding will support multi billion pound sector to create new markets for wood products, driving trade and growing the economy
Applications for the Forestry Commission delivered Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds and the Tree Production Innovation Fund have today (13 March) reopened to further support expansion and management of our nation’s trees and forests and futureproof them against stresses like pests, disease and climate change.
This year, almost £4 million will be allocated to successful applicants across both funds, which together boost nature regeneration efforts, promote biodiversity, and support innovative approaches to tree production, tree health, and woodland resilience through increased and improved active management of woodlands, amidst a changing climate.
As tree planting across the country increases, the Tree Production Innovation Fund will support the development and deployment of new technologies and ways of working which will provide a diverse supply of healthy young trees. This will support Government ambitions to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament and plant 30,000 hectares of trees across the UK per year by 2025.
The announcement comes ahead of the new woodland episode of the BBC wildlife documentary Wild Isles, presented by Sir David Attenborough, that will explore how ecosystems and habitats support wildlife around the UK, including the importance of protecting our woodlands.
Richard Stanford, Chief Executive, Forestry Commission, said:
“Our trees and forests are under threat from climate change, pests and diseases. Trees have to be resilient for the very long term of their lives and we need to innovate to ensure the woods we have, and those we must grow, thrive.”
“The projects supported through these funds are essential in supporting efforts to build larger, more diverse and more resilient treescapes across the country and I strongly encourage all suitable projects to apply today.”
The Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds aims to bring an additional 20,000 hectares of existing woodland into active management, which can help boost biodiversity and protect against pests and diseases. The fund will also support projects which will develop new technologies and working practices to help homegrown timber production meet domestic and international demand.
This will help to bolster timber security and grow the United Kingdom’s forestry and primary wood processing sectors, which support 30,000 jobs and contribute over £2 billion to our economy every year.
The third round of the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds and the Tree Production Innovation Fund are now open. The closing date for the Tree Production Innovation Fund is Tuesday 9th May. The closing date for the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds is Monday 15th May.
Forestry Commission are hosting webinars to support with the application process. To sign up to a webinar, for further information about the funds and to apply visit:
Tree Production Innovation Fund - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Notes to Editors
Case studies: Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds
Reheat - Northwoods Innovation Programme
The Northwoods Innovation Programme is managed by Northumberland-based low carbon heat and forestry consultancy, Reheat, who are once again joined by Sylva Foundation, RDI Associates, and Martin Glynn FICFor following the success of their Woodland Management Focus Area Pilot (WMFAP), funded by the first round of the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Fund.
Funding under the second round of the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Fund has bolstered the project consortium to include Timber Auctions and Green Business Finance with the aim to develop a wider programme that supports, develops, and disseminates innovation to overcome specific barriers to woodland management. The funding has also led to the relaunch of Northwoods, a woodland initiative, with the long term aim that Northwoods can once again deliver a range of projects to support the forestry sector with its various challenges.
Woodland Trust - Mapping rhododendron using remote sensing.
If eradication of rhododendron is to be effective at a landscape scale then removal needs to be co-ordinated, and sustained across multiple landholdings. Otherwise control tends to be piecemeal and opportunistic rather than strategic and it can quickly re-establish. This project will take advantage of cutting-edge advances in remote sensing techniques to make the best use of the resources and time that is put into rhododendron control.
This project continues the exploration of how remote sensing can be used to provide a comprehensive, all-encompassing snapshot of rhododendron in key landscape areas. These maps, in collaboration with others, can then be used to be strategic about how rhododendron control is approached.
Case studies: Tree Production Innovation Fund
RBG, Kew; Elsoms Seeds; Elsoms Trees Ltd. - Seed Traits for Tree Production
This project combines research and technical development to investigate traits in UK native tree seed; to understand how these traits vary; and optimise commercial seed quality using high-throughput screening techniques.
Unlike most cultivated plants bred for consistency and ease of cultivation, the morphology and germination behaviour of native tree seed is inherently variable. Understanding and predicting this variation will be key to designing efficient production processes to improve germinability, reduce waste and make a wider range of seed available. Furthermore, as the climate warms the germination requirements for some species and/or populations may no longer be met, with profound consequences for regeneration of woodlands and the ecosystem services they provide.
University of Warwick and J&A Growers - Smart Tree Production System (STPS)
The Smart Tree Production System (STPS) will provide forest nurseries with a smart, appropriately automated production system for the singulation, grading, counting, and packaging of bare-root tree seedlings capable of improving process productivity and achieving at least a 50% reduction in the need for seasonal labour.
The project will enhance efficiency and resilience to labour shortages, with improved quality and data traceability. STPS will achieve better equipped nurseries, addressing the need for higher productivity and increased automation in the sector. The project will automate the grading process, including an effective integration of autonomous singulation technology and its complementary processes.
WMG, University of Warwick, is partnering with a consortium of four of the leading growers in the UK (accounting for more than half of UK tree nursery production), led by J&A Growers, to deliver the project which started in September 2022 and runs until March 2025.
SAF Woodland Management & A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products – Woodland Grow: from seed to established woodland
This project is developing a natural alternative to man-made fertiliser: Woodland Grow, an innovative peat-free woodland-based compost made from an organic mix of materials that mimic woodland soils. It has been designed to increase tree production, plant health, growth rates and reduce our carbon footprint.
The project team has developed a compost packed with a carefully balanced blend of beneficial and native microbes, bacteria, and fungi to meet the nutritional needs of trees. This new-generation compost is free of peat and synthetic fertilisers and is suitable for both professional growers and amateurs alike.
The Tree Production Innovation fund has facilitated this collaboration across the UK, bringing together industrial partners, specialists and forestry professionals to close a vital gap in the UK forestry carbon cycle. The project brings together SAF Woodland Management and A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products, with collaboration from Euroforest, Prior & Rickett, FERA Science and Soil Ecology Lab.
Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds
Approximately 40% of England’s woodlands are not actively managed, which can be detrimental to biodiversity and leave neglected woodlands vulnerable to pests and disease. Projects which successfully apply for funding through the third round of the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds will receive a share of £1.7 million, as the Forestry Commission aims to bring an additional 20,000 hectares of existing woodland in England into active management by 2024/25.
Under the umbrella of the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds, the Timber in Construction Innovation Fund supports projects which increase and facilitate the use of English timber from sustainably managed woods and forests in construction. Other funds support new business models and supply chains for ash timber to help restore woodlands damaged by ash dieback, as well as initiatives using temporary infrastructure to access neglected or degraded woodlands. Moreover, a series of regional funds will support forward-thinking projects that enable the active management of woodlands where previously not possible. Applicants in the forestry and associated sectors, as well as local authorities, are invited to submit multi-year proposals spanning up to two financial years (ending March 2025), with individual projects valued at up to £100,000 per year.
Tree Production Innovation Fund
Also reopening today, the Tree Production Innovation Fund will make over £2 million available to projects striving to enhance the quantity, quality, and diversity of tree planting stock available for planting in England. The Fund supports the development and deployment of new technologies and ways of working which will provide a diverse supply of healthy young trees in the quantities required to realise ambitious tree planting plans across the country. Applicants are invited to submit multi-year proposals spanning up to two financial years (ending March 2025), with projects valued at up to £200,000 per year.
Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/forestry-funds-open-to-boost-biodiversity-and-futureproof-forests-against-pests-diseases-and-climate-change
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