Potential of Cornish woodlands investigated
with help of Objective One
A £35,000 feasibility study to look into alternative
uses for Cornwall's woodlands is now well underway thanks
to investment from Objective One.
Once complete, the study hopes to provide solutions to enable
many of Cornwall's woodlands to be managed in a sustainable
way while providing businesses and communities with new uses
for the natural resource.
During a visit to an Objective One showcase event in May,
HRH The Duke of Cornwall highlighted the need for woodlands
to be managed in a sustainable way, and expressed his desire
to see much greater local sourcing of wood products.
The feasibility study, which has been commissioned by the
Cornwall Enterprise Company on behalf of Woodmeet, the Cornish
woodlands network, was started in June by environmental consultants
Scott Wilson. The study is focusing on the River Fowey catchment
area in order to establish the economic, environmental and
social potential of the area's woodlands.
The wide range of woodland use and ownership in Fowey, with
a mix of conifer plantations, mixed estate woodlands, small
plantations, riverine and estuarine oak woodlands, makes it
an ideal sample area from which the results of the study can
be applied to woodlands across Cornwall.
Scott Wilson is identifying possible links between the woodland
owners, operators, businesses and the local community in the
Fowey area to assess if there are any workable opportunities
which could be capitalised upon.
William Garnier, Woodmeet Facilitator within the Objective
One Agricultural Development Team, said: "This study
demonstrates the pro-active measures being taken by the woodland
industry to re-energise the management of Cornwall's woodlands.
"There is a great need throughout the industry to find
alternative revenue streams in order to support the management
of woodlands which are currently under managed at both a regional
and national level due, in part, to cheap imports, high overheads
and the lack of substantiated markets.
"Woodland management for timber involves practices that
provide trees with the space to grow and be extracted with
minimum damage to the timber. However, the process of woodland
thinning and clearing to make way for the extraction of timber
creates by-products. The key to the future vitality of our
woodlands lies in not only finding alternative uses and markets
for these wood by-products, but also in finding other reasons
for managing them in the first place, such as recreation,
environmental and/or entrepreneurial activities. It is clear
that woodland management cannot rely on timber sales alone
and this study is one effort to discover alternative revenue
streams for woodland owners. If these are found then the economy,
the environment and the people of Cornwall will all benefit."
Land and forestry specialist Robert Spencer, who is managing
the project at Scott Wilson said: "We are now over half
way through the information gathering phase of the study and
have been delighted by the wealth of information and ideas
generated by the woodland owners, mangers, businesses and
community in Fowey to find a way forward for the future of
the area's woodlands.
"We look forward to feeding back the findings and initial
ideas from the study at a Woodland Forum on the 10th September
where we will be inviting the stakeholders who have helped
us gather information to come along and listen to our proposals
and let us know if they believe they are viable. Following
on from this vital feedback we will present our final report
to the Woodmeet in October."
The results of the feasibility study should provide valuable
recommendations for future entrepreneurial activity. The Objective
One Agricultural Development Team hopes to work with applicants
to bring projects to fruition that could later be replicated
in other areas of Cornwall.
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership,
said: "Cornwall's woodlands are important in a number
of ways and to numerous groups of people, the results of this
study are eagerly anticipated as we hope they will provide
new opportunities for businesses in Cornwall to use our natural
woodland resources sustainably for the economic and social
benefit of the region."
The £35,052 project has received £17,276 investment
from the Objective One European Agricultural Guidance and
Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) with match funding from DEFRA and the
additional funding coming from Cornwall County Council, the
Forestry Commission and the National Trust.
European Agricultural Guidance
and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)
EAGGF is one of the four funds that make up the Objective
One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which
is making £314 million of investment available to support
the local economy between 2000 and 2006.
EAGGF aims to:
||Help preserve the link between diversified farming
and the land.
||Improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture
as a key activity in rural areas.
||Ensure the diversification of the economy in rural
||Help to keep thriving communities in rural areas.
||Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape
and the rural heritage.
For further information contact:
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
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