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The Art of Natural Forest Practice
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Why is doing nothing a conscious decision?

* Owners frequently sense that the advice they are given is inappropriate.  They are confused and don’t know which way to turn and as a result many do nothing.  My response is that there’s much more to woodlands than timber, conservation and grants, and that conserving woodlands is thus grossly misunderstood.  
* The mistake is to think of the forest as consisting just of trees, whereas in fact they are whole communities- flora (flowers, trees, fungi, etc), fauna (insects, mammals, birds, etc) and geography (soil, rainfall, aspect, altitude, etc).  Every forest is unique.  Given understanding and a helping-hand they respond with vigour, dynamic and full of life - birds sing, insects hum, flowers bloom, seeds germinate, etc.
* As an owner I’ve been through all this myself.  When I took over from my father forty years ago, government post-war placed great emphasis on fast growing timber to offset imports- conifers.  I sensed this was wrong for my broadleaf woodland, yet to do nothing would be a mistake.  The turning point came in discovering foresters regenerating the beech woodlands for furniture makers.  Sure enough, their techniques also worked with other native hardwoods, oak, ash, elm and so on.  They were right, but with no local advice it took me a long time to learn what to do next in restoring the health of my woodland.
* Greatest of all I’ve discovered that by caring for my woodland, in return it takes care of me, especially when I am frustrated and stressed by life.  Its beauty, peace and tranquillity are deeply refreshing which visitors comment on.
* Owning a woodland is a great privilege but also a big responsibility.  The best way to learn is out there in the woodland observing at first-hand how the forest works.
* My woodland has become a demonstration of natural techniques.  Please come and see for yourself what can be achieved.


...............Observation by new woodland owner
................contemplating how to make a start

*Enjoy your woodland and marvel at its splendour.
*Do nothing for a year except observe the woodland in all its seasons, make notes about your ideas and learning and take lots of photos, enjoy being there observing and taking in all that is going on.
*Make a map of your woodland and begin to record the types of trees, flowers, fungi, animals, birds, insects etc that you have seen, generally becoming more knowledgeable about your own woodland, get to know it, like you would a valued friend.
*Take advice from other woodland owners and experts.
*Visit other woodland owners in their woods.
*Then draft out your vision for the woodland, what you want to achieve, accomplish, discuss and take more advice with others you know and respect for their knowledge and experience in woodland care.
*Then only when you are really sure what to do and how, begin and let the vision you have for your woodland start to develop.
*Work with your woodland and woodland will respond and give back to you abundantly in so many ways’.   

Woodland owner