The New Forest: Britain’s First Woodland Maintenance Project?

Can you imagine a time when forests were vast and horses roamed free? Travel back to the 11th century and woodland was exactly like that! The New Forest, a region of southern England spanning the counties of Hampshire, Wiltshire, and parts of Dorset, has a rich history and rural landscape that has remained unchanged.

Today we understand the importance of protecting our natural environments and resources, however, over the years many of the UK’s forests have been destroyed for development uses. According to Forestry England, although ancient forests, such as the New Forest, only cover around 2% of the UK, they are highly valued because of the scale and diversity of wildlife that they harbour. But, this idea of conservation was introduced back in the 11th century when William the Conqueror first created protective laws for the New Forest.

In this blog, we explore how the New Forest could be considered the first woodland maintenance project and how it’s impacted forest management today. Read on to find out more.

History of the New Forest

Nowadays we think of a forest as a place covered in trees, but in medieval times forests were considered a reserve for royal hunting. After the Normans invaded England in 1066, the Norman kings reserved areas of England to be forests, which meant royal hunting grounds. One of these areas was the New Forest which was established by William the Conqueror in 1079. As part of this reservation, William created new laws to protect the natural habitat which the venison and vert depended on.

Before these laws were in place the forest people were able to exploit the forests and the natural resources available. However, after the new laws were introduced there were harsh and even fatal penalties for living off the land and many people were killed due to mistreatment of the land and animals on it. The forest law was one of the earliest written laws created in England and many parts of the law were still in place until the 1970s before being replaced by the Wild Creatures and Forest Laws Act 1971.

How did this impact the environment and forest management

Despite forest laws being in place for some areas of the UK, deforestation has become a serious problem over the years. At one-time, forest people were seen as a major problem for the conservation of forests, but in modern times the main concern is cutting down trees for development purposes. There are forestry laws in place to govern activities on forest lands, however, with a growing demand for housing and commercial premises, this has had an impact on the natural environment.

Having said that, in the last decade the UK and beyond has seen a major shift in the understanding and recognition of forest areas through woodland creation and sustainable forest management. The planet is more vulnerable than ever, so we must strike the right balance between protecting our land and finding sustainable ventures. Today, forest management schemes are a great way of monitoring how land is being used and preserving resources in the right way.

Forestry projects today

The number of woodland maintenance and forestry projects has expanded across the UK, with investors cultivating their own land or purchasing new land for long-term sustainable gains. Timber is an important material in business so while you can’t prevent trees being cut down altogether, you can make sustainable projects that conserve forests and actively work on woodland planting.

Woodland management is a simple way of protecting the forest. By purchasing the land you are securing it and creating a sustainable project in a designated area. There are several social, economical and environmental benefits which make this kind of investment such a good option.

Finding the right kind of land for woodland project

In Scotland, there are hundreds of acres of land that can be used for woodland projects or you can convert land that you already own. If you’ve never been a woodland project before then the number of options available can seem a little overwhelming. It’s always a good idea to have a professional forest management team onboard who knows exactly what to look for and can assess the land. Ecological surveys, expert advice, planning permission and ongoing management are just some of the services that you can access. Once you’re on the right track to finding good land a professional team will help you manage your project and make it thrive for long-term success.

The benefits of forestry projects today

Here are some of the top reasons for starting a forestry project. With more and more business professionals looking for new investments in line with world trends, sustainable concepts are always a good idea.

  • Helping to create sustainable materials – as mentioned, timber is one of the most used materials in the UK but there is also a growing concern about the depletion of trees. Your forestry investment can help with the demand by supplying high-quality timber as well as restoring the land to ensure it is sustainable. This is a great way to help local businesses who are looking for timber supplies.
  • Supporting the environment – of course, the biggest benefit of improving natural landscapes is the positive impact on the environment. Protecting the soil and water will help the land to thrive into something amazing.
  • Carbon storage – forests can also be used as part of carbon storage schemes. Carbon dioxide, also known as C02, makes a serious impact on global warming, however, it can be removed when more trees are planted – defined as Woodland Carbon Units (WCUs).
  • Tax benefits – there are tax advantages to being involved in forestry projects such as inheritance tax benefits, making this kind of investment a great option if you’re looking to pass it on to your family members. Commercial forestry owners are exempt from both income and corporation tax due to their contribution to sustainability.

At Woodland Creations, based in Scotland, we’re passionate about woodland planting. Creating new woodland offers a range of environmental and social benefits including habitat restoration, protecting soil and water, providing community benefits through public access and improving landscapes. From a business perspective, forest management has become a popular venture in Scotland. We work with Highfield Forestry Limited, who have a proven track record of successfully establishing and managing woodlands across the UK. Find out more today.

Woodland Creations: Forest Management in Scotland

If you’re looking for your next project that’s profitable and beneficial for the environment, consider woodland planting. At Woodland Creations, we can help you through the entire process from finding the right land to cultivating it into a sustainable long-term asset.

There are many reasons why investors choose woodland projects. Not only do they protect the environment and create sustainability in the local area but there are tax benefits too. But to ensure your forest investment is a success you need an experienced team behind you who can manage the project through reports, maintenance and guidance and we can help!

Sound like something you’re interested in? Check out our current projects today and get in touch for more information.

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