Memorandum submitted by the Institute
of Chartered Foresters (K 6)
The Institute of Chartered Foresters welcomes
the opportunity to comment to the Agriculture Committee on the
role of the Forestry Commission. These comments follow.
The role of the Forestry Commission is broadForest
Enterprise is the largest single owner of woodland in Great Britain,
Forest Research is the main source of research activity directly
relating to forestry and trees in the UK and the Forestry Commission,
through the delivery of grants, provides quality control of the
management of the forest estate of Great Britain, in both private
and state ownership. We believe that the Forestry Commission
should be the key deliverer of sustainable forest management in
Great Britain and that Forestry Commission staff directly engaged
in forest management should be, aim to be, Chartered Foresters,
thereby demonstrating the Forestry Commission's commitment
to high professional standards, external quality assurance and
transparent accountability to the wider public. There are currently
210 Institute members employed by the Forestry Commission.
One of our main areas of concern with regard
to the work of the Forestry Commission relates to funding and
Timber prices in real terms are at an all time
low. This impacts on both the income of the Forestry Commission
and also on the income of the private sector, who are involved
in commercial forestry. This not only affects current returns
but also investment in the maintenance of crops due to be harvested
in the future. Reducing maintenance now affects the value of the
crop to society as a whole, both now and in the longer term. Less
well-maintained stands of trees are in general less biologically
diverse, less visually attractive and produce lower grade timber,
not only affecting what usage that timber can be put to, but the
amount of value that can be added to the primary product. Short-term
savings, therefore, can have a detrimental impact on the long-term
economic wealth of the nation, in particular in rural areas.
The low returns described above have meant that
many skilled workers employed in forestry are moving out of the
industry. This loss of experience will have a detrimental affect,
especially when combined with predicted timber volumes coming
on stream in the next 10 to 20 years, where a doubling of the
volume for harvest is predicted.
Forestry can assist government in achieving
many of its aims connected with sustainability. Examples could
include renewable energy and reaching carbon targets. If forestry
is to play its full part in assisting Government and society in
achieving its potential then the Institute believes that the Forestry
Commission must be properly resourced during this difficult financial
period to enable it to deliver sustainable forest management on
its own estate and through proper incentives and support in the
The Institute of Chartered Foresters is the
professional body for foresters and arborists throughout the UK.
It is regulated by its Royal Charter, Bylaws and Regulation, and
is required to maintain and uphold a Code of Ethics and rules
of Professional Conduct. In addition:
The Institute sets and maintains
the standards for the profession, regulates the standards of entry
to the profession and offers examinations for professional qualifications.
The Institute keeps under review
the status of Chartered Foresters and the profession.
The Institute safeguards the public
interest in matters relating to forests, woodlands and trees.
Institute members are employed across
all sections of the forestry and arboriculture sectors of the
industry and currently 210 members of Forestry Commission staff
are Fellows, Ordinary Members and Associates of the Institute.
We believe that forests, woodlands and trees
must be sustainably managed to meet society's increasing demand
for wood, for recreation, for amenity, for conservation and for
economic development. With increasing pressure on the world's
forest resources, it is more important than ever before that the
nation's trees and forests are in good hands. Managing them is
a responsible task, requiring a high standard of professional
managementwhich is the job of the Chartered Forester. As
part of our commitment to this, the institute requires that its
members undertake Continuing Professional Development, thereby
ensuring the highest and most up to date standards of technical
and professional competence.
13 November 2000