Forests filter and purify the air, regulate floods and stabilise soil, support wildlife and contribute to the mental and physical wellbeing of people, both to those who visit them and those who appreciate their existence.
The Royal Society of Biology recognises the importance of forests within the UK and globally, and champions the valuation of all the Ecosystem Services they provide for land management, habitat provision and human health.
For research, funding and policy news on ash dieback, please see our dedicated ash dieback website, run by the Royal Society of Biology special interest group, the UK Plant Sciences Federation.
Forest Research and the 2010 Spending Review
We have responded to the Joint Lords and Commons consultation into Forest Research and the 2010 Spending Review, and given oral evidence at the inquiry.
In summary, we responded:
- The 25% reduction in Forestry Commission funding announced in the Spending Review has already dented capacity and will impact on the UK research base in forestry.
- The capacity of Forest Research to collaborate with university academic departments is threatened. Inherent university capacity has reduced in recent years. This is leading to a university skills deficit.
- A significant proportion of Research Council funding for research is directed to overseas programmes, with significant gaps in support of UK-based ecological research.
- Climate change and emerging diseases are already placing significant burdens on capacity; diminishing budgets are likely to make more severe the mismatch between the challenges faced and the capacity available.
The Public Forest Estate of England
The Royal Society of Biology also closely follows the Defra announcements on future of forestry in England, the once proposed ‘sell off’ of the Public Forest Estate, and the findings of the Independent Panel on Forestry.