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Tree Charter: a voice for trees and people

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Charter for Trees, Woods and People

Our life on Earth is entwined with trees, even if we’re not always aware of their importance. It often takes a special moment for us remember the significance of something we can so easily take for granted. The Year 2017 is one such moment for trees and forests in the UK, this being the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest.

In 1217, all of the rules contained in the 1215 version of Magna Carta which related to forests were defined in a separate dedicated charter called the Charter of the Forest.

charter-of-the-forest-1217

The National Archives provide a simplified transcript:

Edward by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Guyan, to all to whom these presents shall come, sends greeting: we have seen the charter of the Lord Henry our father, sometime King of England, concerning the Forest in these words. Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Guyan and Earl of Anjou, to all archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, justicers, foresters, sheriffs, provosts, officers, and to all his bailiffs, and faithful subjects which shall see this present charter, greeting. For the honour of Almighty God, and for the salvation of our soul and the souls of our ancestors and successors, to the advancement of Holy Church, and amendment of our realm, we have, of our mere and free will have given and granted, to all archbishops, bishops, earls, barons and to all of this our realm, these liberties, following, to be kept in our kingdom of England forever.

(1) First, we order that all lands which became forest under King Henry II, our grandfather, shall be examined by good and lawful men; and if these investigations find that Henry II created forest on land that did not rightfully belong to the king, this land shall no longer be considered forest.

(9) And if the swine of any freeman sleeps one night within our forest, he should not lose any of his property as punishment.

(10) Henceforth, no man shall lose his life or suffer the amputation of any of his limbs for killing our deer. If any man is convicted of killing our deer, he shall pay a grievous fine, but if he is poor and has nothing to lose, he shall be imprisoned for a year and a day. After the year and a day expired, if he can find people to vouch for him, he shall be released; if not, he shall be banished from the realm of England.

More than 50 organisations representing a wide range of interests—led by Woodland Trust—are standing together during 2017 to call for a new charter which is called the Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

Through collecting stories about what trees and woods mean to people, the movement is building a picture of their value to everyone in the UK.  These stories will be used to create a set of guiding principles, around which the Charter will be written. The final Charter for Trees, Woods and People will influence policy and practice and celebrate the role that trees and woods play in our lives.

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

The new Charter for Trees, Woods and People will launch on November 6th 2017, the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest. Before this there will more and more activities getting underway with opportunities for everyone to get involved.

Get involved:

Trees are in our blood

July 4, 2012

Gabriel Hemery

Our Forests member Jonathon Porritt, explains why he thinks it is that we love our forests and trees so much we are willing to fight to protect them. Watch the film.

Independent Panel on Forestry report published

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IPF final report July 2012
IPF final report July 2012

Download the full IPF final report July 2012

The much heralded report by the Independent Panel on Forestry on the future of forestry in England was released this morning. It is anticipated that the Government will take until January 2013 to consider the Panel’s recommendations and that the suspension on sales of public forests will be extended until it publishes its response. Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, will be issuing a written statement later this morning.

Here’s a quick summary of the central messages:

A woodland culture for the 21st century

  • Urge society as a whole to value woodlands for the full range of benefits they bring. We call on Government to pioneer a new approach to valuing and rewarding the management, improvement and expansion of the woodland ecosystems for all the benefits they provide to people, nature and the green economy.
  • Government and other woodland owners to give as many people as possible ready access to trees and woodlands for health and well-being benefits – this means planting more trees and woodlands closer to people and incentivising more access to existing woodlands.
  • Ensure that land-use creates a coherent and resilient ecological network at a landscape scale, by integrating policy and delivery mechanisms for woods, trees and forests in line with the principles in the  “Making Space for Nature” report, published by the Lawton Review.
  • Urge Government, woodland owners and businesses to seize the opportunity provided by woodlands to grow our green economy, by strengthening the supply chain, and promoting the use of wood more widely across our society and economy. These and other actions should be set out in a Wood Industry Action Plan

Making the vision a reality – the role of our national forestry organisations

  • Propose that the public forest estate should remain in public ownership, and be defined in statute as land held in trust for the nation. A Charter should be created for the English public forest estate, to be renewed every ten years. The Charter should specify the public benefit mission and statutory duties, and should be delivered through a group of Guardians, or Trustees, who will be accountable to Parliament.  The Guardians will oversee the new public forest management organisation evolved from Forest Enterprise England urge Government to ensure that the new organisational landscape makes specific provision  for international and cross-border arrangements, working closely with the devolved Parliaments on sustainable multi-benefit forestry implementation, research and in the international arena.

In the Introduction to the report the chair of the panel Bishop James Jones wrote some of the most eloquent words about our forests and woods that I have read in a long while:

Our forests and woods are nature’s playground for the adventurous, museum for the curious, hospital for the stressed, cathedral for the spiritual, and a livelihood for the entrepreneur. They are a microcosm of the cycle of life in which each and every part is dependent on the other; forests and woods are the benefactor of all, purifying the air that we breathe and distilling the water of life. In short, trees are for life.

Bishop James Jones, Chair, Independent Panel on Forestry. July 4th 2012

The ginger group Our Forests will be releasing a statement later today.

Gabriel Hemery


Other resources related to the IPF Report

Our Forests online poster to share

July 2, 2012

Gabriel Hemery

Our Forests online poster (114kb compressed)

Our Forests has created a poster to be shared online to promote grassroot’s demands to Government concerning the future of England’s forests. With the announcement from the Independent Panel on Forestry just 36 hours away, here’s a chance to remind everyone why the issue is so important.

Right click and select Save As to download the poster image and feel free to Share via social media (links below).

Our Forests online poster (114kb compressed)

Our Forests online poster (114kb compressed)

Our Forests online poster (418kb low quality)

Our Forests online poster (418kb low quality)

Our Forests online poster (4.39mb high quality)

Our Forests online poster (4.39mb high quality)

Gabriel Hemery

Our Forests campaign posters

June 29, 2012

Gabriel Hemery

For everyone for ever - download poster

Our Forests has produced a series of posters free for anyone to use in publicising the issues critical in securing the people’s vision for the future of woods and forests in England.

The posters reiterate and emphasize our six simple demands for Government:

  1. Our woods & forests protected forever!
  2. National support for a national resource
  3. No sales until public woods safe
  4. Stop chopping the Forestry Commission
  5. Public Forest Estate – Double it!
  6. Good management for all woods

Read more about Our Forests

Gabriel Hemery

Public ready to rise up again if Government fails them over public woods & forests

June 27, 2012

Gabriel Hemery

Our Forests

The Independent Panel on Forestry is due to publish its report and recommendations to Government on the future of our public woods and forests (the Public Forest Estate), the Forestry Commission and England’s woodland and forestry policy in general on Wednesday, 4th July.

Our Forests has been in contact with many of those groups who share our concerns and who have signed up to the following public statement, which has today been put to Government and sent out to all 171 Members of Parliament that have public woods and forests within their constituencies:

“We believe that public ownership of the Public Forest Estate must be secured, through new legislation. The rich cultural, historical and natural diversity of our forests and woods, and full access to them, is best protected under the continued stewardship of the Forestry Commission, fully resourced to sustainably manage and expand our multi-purpose Public Forest Estate now and in the future.”

This statement has been fully endorsed by the following grassroot campaigns:

 

The Our Forests ginger group recently conducted a national survey together with 38 Degrees. Just under 90% of those responding said they would campaign against the Government if their concerns about and hopes for England’s public woods and forests are not met. Read the Survey summary.

Rich Daniels, Our Forests member and chair of Hands Off Our Forest said:

”It would seem political suicide to do so, but the evidence on record from Parliament is that the Government could put significant areas of public woods and forests back on the market. If they go against the public will on this issue, they can expect a conflagration in constituencies across England. It would be unwise for Government to think that the sale of any significant part of OUR public Forests and woods would pass without reigniting the flames of protest in the hearts of people and forest communities across England. The prospect of any our public woods and forests being threatened again after we have fought so hard to protect them will be met with even more determined campaigning.”

Our Forests press release 27 June 2012Read the full press release

Our Forests 38 Degrees survey results summaryRead the Survey summary.


Read more about Our Forests

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