Writing a woodland management plan.
Writing a woodland management plan can be a daunting process and I remember when starting to write ours I had moments when I doubted myself. I started asking myself questions such as: what should I say here; or is this what they are looking for? I’m also aware that although the Forestry Commision (FC) are supposed to provide help, due to workloads and priorities, the amount of help they give is proportional to the size of your wood. So if our 8 acre woodland allowed me to access a 40 minute phone conversation those with 3 acres are unlikely to glean much information or knowledge from a 15 minute conversation.
Anyway its not all doom and gloom.
Maybe you don’t need a Management Plan and/or Felling Licence.
Firstly remember you are able to chop down 5 cubic metres of wood every quarter (3 months) without a licence. In their Timber Volume Calculator the FC provide a useful little table to help us figure out how many trees that actually is (see below). And its also worth remembering that the 5m3/qtr does not include: trees under 8cm (as they are not considered a tree); standards under 10cm (if for thinning and/or improving neighbouring trees); and coppiced trees under 15cm. All these diameters are taken at chest height.
Secondly, there is a lot of useful information in the form of booklets and examples and we have been provided with templates we can use. Below I have highlighted the ones I found most helpful:
- So you own a woodland?
- FC Guide to Ancient Native Woodland.
- FC Guide to Mixed Broadleaf Woodland.
- FC Guide to Beech and Ash Woodland.
- FC Guide to Thinning Control.
- FC Guide to Coppice Rotation (see also Coppice Resources Ltd – Guide to Short Rotation Coppice).
- FC Guide to Managing Deadwood.
Apparently there are bats living across Warleigh Lane in the old quarries and therefore woods close to the road would need to take account of this in their management plans. I found these documents when considering a different wood:
- FC – European Protected Species (EPS) Field Guide.
- Guidance on managing woodlands with bats.
- Bechsteins Bat – An Introduction.
- EPS Check List.
- FC Guide to Managment Plan.
- Woodland Management Plan Example – I found this really useful in understanding what was expected.
- Template for Small Wood Management Plan.
If you are looking at creating open spaces in your wood you will need to consider the environmental impact and the following documents will aid you.
- Template for Open Habitat.
- Environmental Impact Assessment Opinion Request Form.
- Managing woodland open space for wildlife.
Specifically related to Felling Applications:
- FC Guide to Getting Felling Permission.
- FC Guide to Felling Application – including felling types, codes for common tree species and restocking codes.
- Felling Application Template.
- FC Map Request Form – although I used a scanned copy of the one I was given by Woodlands during the purchase.
- Timber Volume Calculator.
If you are undertaking operations in your woodland it would be prudent to complete an operational impact assessment (OSA):
We are not large commercial forestry operations
Lastly, I believe, given the size of our woods we are unlikely to get drawn across the coals for not writing a 100% perfect management plan or felling licence request. Or this is my hope at least!