It is often assumed that our woodlands will look after themselves, however, this is often not the case and if managed effectively, they not only prosper but can provide many benefits. There are many components to manage within a woodland. When carried out effectively, they provide a healthy, safe, resourceful and biodiverse woodland.
There are a number of ways in which woodland can be improved such as:
- Thinning; this will improve the quality of growth and wood by reducing competition for canopy space, allowing for wider hardwood trunks which will generate more revenue than thinner, quicker growing softwood species. Furthermore, it will result in more light being able to reach the understory, encouraging a greater variety of understory species.
- Leave a proportion of fallen trees; although deadwood might be unsightly, it creates a fantastic habitat and provides resources for invertebrates and larger organisms throughout the year.
- Maintain rides and glades; aim for 10% of open space within the woodland as this will allow enough light through the canopy to encourage woodland flora.
- Plant woodland strategically; woodlands provide great shelter and resources for shooting which can provide another source of income over the winter periods.
- Encourage natural regeneration by using tree shelters on young plants; this will help to stop deer grazing, reducing the need to re-plant woodland. Alternatively look into creating a deer management plan.
If you don’t have a woodland management plan, and want to fell any more than 5 cubic meters a quarter and are intending on selling 2 cubic meters of this, you will need a felling licence. These are obtained from the forestry commission by applying online.
The countryside stewardship scheme offers a number of grants, to help plant new woodland, restock woodland after tree health problems and fell diseased trees. Grants can also be put towards woodland management plans which are a great way to help you focus resources and increase the sustainability of the woodland. Once the plan is created and approved by the forestry commission, it will provide a felling licence, allowing you to apply for a Higher-Tier countryside stewardship scheme, meaning you can receive funding to carry out the aims set in the plan.
For more information about caring for your woodland, please get in contact with your local Brown&Co office. We can offer you as much or a little help as required, to ensure that you make the most of your woodland and the opportunities it provides.