Woodland management - intervention creates healthy woods
of 'managing' woodland is central to
understanding the Westwoods project.
the scope of the south-west's woodland
resources that significant quantities of wood fuel
can be supplied, not from wholesale
clearance felling, but rather by means of
routine arboricultural maintenance that
would actually benefit the overall health of these
Selective extraction, optimum density
Old trees are felled, making way
for new growth; fallen trees are cleared
from the wood. Optimum space is created
by thinning out dense woodland, and clearing
away the choking inter-growth of virulent shrubs,
with the effect of creating a better
environment for the health of all species within the wood. It
also enables more practical application
of the land - such as easier access for
leisure use, where this is a consideration.
Renewable resource, improved carbon uptake
Wood fuel supplies are derived almost as a
by-product of the responsible, sustainable
practice of woodland management. Measured,
planned extraction means that the woodland
can provide a continuing supply of renewable
wood fuel energy.
And, as it is new-growing
trees that absorb the greatest quantities of
CO2 from the atmosphere, these invigorated woodlands make a far
more effective contribution to scrubbing the
atmosphere of the carbon produced when burning
the extracted wood chip fuel - a virtuous
Westwoods does not advocate the practice of
intensive monoculture of the type that has
given rise to concerns around some other areas of biofuel development. The
focus of our efforts is much more upon
reinstating management to an existing
resource and reversing the decline of
woodland species, whilst diversity is
maintained with new plantings.
There are substantial areas of woodland in
the south-west region - some 8.7% of the
land area by Forestry Commission
estimates - much of it currently un-managed.
Alongside this there is a broad pool of
skilled and experienced woodland
maintenance operators. It is Westwoods'
intention to bring these skilled contractors
together with woodland owners as a
reliable and cost-effective resource.