25 Facts About Forestry Commission


Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial government department responsible for the management of publicly owned forests and the regulation of both public and private forestry in England.

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Forestry Commission was previously responsible for Forestry in Wales and Scotland.

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However, on 1 April 2013, Forestry Commission Wales merged with other agencies to become Natural Resources Wales, whilst two new bodies were established in Scotland on 1 April 2019.

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Forestry Commission was established in 1919 to expand Britain's forests and woodland, which had been severely depleted during the First World War.

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The Commission bought large amounts of agricultural land on behalf of the state, eventually becoming the largest manager of land in Britain.

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Today, the Forestry Commission is divided into three divisions: Forestry England, Forestry Commission and Forest Research.

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Over time the purpose of the Forestry Commission broadened to include many other activities beyond timber production.

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Forestry Commission received criticism for its reliance on conifers, particularly the uniform appearance of conifer forests and concerns over a lack of biodiversity.

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Forestry Commission is the government body responsible for the regulation of private forestry in England; felling is generally illegal without first obtaining a licence from the Commission.

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The Forestry Commission is responsible for encouraging new private forest growth and development.

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At the outbreak of the Second World War the Forestry Commission was split into the Forest Management Department, to continue with the commission's duties, and the Timber Supply Department to produce enough timber for the war effort.

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Early 1980s recession forced the Forestry Commission to expand its sales beyond Britain, exports quickly reached 500,000 tonnes of timber per year.

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The Forestry Act 1981 allowed the sale of Commission land that was used for forestry.

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Early 1990s saw the Department of Forestry absorb the Forest Authority from the commission, which had previously acted as a separate government department.

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In 1993 it was again suggested that the Forestry Commission could be privatised, sparking protest from many conservation groups.

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Decline in timber sales since the mid-1990s forced the Forestry Commission to focus on research and recreation more than ever before, something that was encouraged by the government.

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Devolution meant the Forestry Commission had to report to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly as well as the national Government.

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On 1 April 2013 Forestry Commission Wales was merged into Natural Resources Wales: between that date and April 2019 the Forestry Commission was responsible only for English and Scottish forests.

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Forestry Commission Wales was separated from Forestry Commission on 1 April 2013, and merged with Environment Agency Wales and Countryside Council for Wales to create Natural Resources Wales, a single body delivering the environmental priorities of the Welsh Government.

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Lord Lovat, the 'Father' of the Forestry Commission, had extensive land holdings in Scotland, and it was in the Highlands that he and other Scottish landowners such as Sir John Stirling-Maxwell conceived of the scheme of land-settlement allied to forestry.

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Forestry Commission is organised into Forest Services, Forestry England and Forest Research.

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The Forestry Commission continues to report to the Westminster Parliament via Defra ministers.

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The focus on recreation allowed the Forestry Commission to become the largest provider of outdoor recreation in Britain.

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Early plantations were criticised for their lack of diversity, however the Forestry Commission has been steadily improving the value of its woodlands for wildlife.

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The Forestry Commission was originally given land with poor soil quality, usually in highland areas; conifers were used because they can grow well in such difficult conditions.

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