English Oak and the Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission’s (FC) role is to maintain and develop forestry across England in order to provide sustainable resources to the domestic timber industry. When founded, the FC was responsible for the whole of Britain but over the last few years Scotland and Wales have established their own agencies – Natural Resource Wales, Forestry and Land Scotland and Scottish Forestry.
History of the Forestry Commission
After WW1 Britain only had 5% of its original forest cover left after vast amounts of timber was used during the war effort. This prompted the government to form the FC in 1919 to help replenish forests and English Oak supplies.
Over the years the FC purchased land for afforestation and reforestation and steadily forest cover grew, eventually doubling in size. As time went on the FC took on new roles and began setting up research stations (Like the one at Alice Holt Lodge), became part of the WWII war effort as part of the Forestry Management and Timber Supply departments and introduced a licensing system for felling trees.
Has English Oak Benefited?
The supply of English Oak has certainly increased over the last few years and British timbers in general have become more and more utilised over imported wood. There is a shifting mentality to use home grown timbers in order to boost British businesses.
The work that the forestry commission has put in to develop forest land has been immense and their influence on the timber trade will only continue to grow. With their eagerness to plant on harvested and newly acquired land, timber will become more and more sustainable and readily available for everyone.
Recreational Benefits of the FC
When it was first found the Forestry Commissions main goal was to maximise timber sales and make sure that we didn’t need to rely upon imported timber during times of war. However, since the Countryside Act 1968, the FC started building public facilities so that people could start using the forests for recreational purposes.
This led to the Forestry Commission working with various associations to promote horse riding, rambling and cycling throughout the forests. Area’s like Cannock Chase are famous for their cycling, walking and Bridle routes and the FC also holds live music events in several forests throughout the year.