The principle body representing professional foresters and arboriculturists, the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), has released an updated position statement on the Government’s proposals to sell-off the public forest estate in England.
The ICF has one thousand professional members, all of whom have undergone a rigorous examination of their knowledge and professional standards. I understand that the ICF Council will be collating views from members to produce a full response to the public consultation. It will be interesting to see the stance that the ICF takes because their membership includes a large number of Forestry Commission employees, alongside those from the private sector. For these reasons the outcome will be a contribution of significant importance in the current debate. Here’s the key section of the position statement:
As the professional body representing foresters in the UK, we would be very concerned to see a reduction in support for woodland management. The creation of complex ownership structures that leave woodland owners facing increased costs or being unable to draw on sufficient funds and professional expertise to support woodland management would be a significant setback to UK forestry. There are excellent examples of good woodland management in both the public and the private sector – the common factor in each case is the economic viability of the woodland.
Given our aim of promoting forestry more widely our members are also concerned about the knock-on effect of these changes on the Forestry Commission and its vital role in forest research.