One of the great opportunities presented by woodland crofts is to be able to manage woodland better: for trees & timber; for wildlife; and most importantly, for people.
Mainstream forestry can do many things but with the best will in the world there is usually no way that a busy commercial forester can match the level of management input to an area of woodland that would be typical of a woodland crofter going about his everyday business. Nor should this level of input be considered as a ‘luxury’, gladly undertaken for the non-market benefits arising – it brings its own economic returns.
As the dry jargon of the original Steering Group report on woodland crofts put it, it
“Derives economic benefits from local intensive management of areas of forest that may be difficult to achieve with remote management on an extensive basis”
But woodland management, of all activities, does not produce instant results. Change is slow; we inherit the fruits of our forebears’ labours, and pass on the fruits of our own to future generations. In such circumstances a measured approach and long-term planning is required.
A Guidance Note looking in detail at the issues in planning woodland management is available here. Other guidance on woodland management and links to relevant information can be found in the Guidance section.