An axis of naturalness for treescapes


Natural Forest Reserves in  Rhineland - Palatinate

This is the second part of an exploration of what treescapes mean for the UK. Forest in a national park in England, France and Germany, are at different points on an axis of naturalness for treescapes. If we don’t learn the lessons that are illustrated by this axis, then we will continue to fail nature, incapable of understanding that we must use our public lands to give freedom to wild nature and to people to experience it.

Because of a failure to meet previous targets, MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee launched an inquiry on Tree Planting and Woodlands at the beginning of October to investigate whether the Government will be able to meet its new goal of ramping up tree planting across the UK to 30,000ha a year by 2025 (1-3). The Select Committee will scrutinise whether the Government’s targets are realistic as well as ambitious enough, and whether it has the right strategy to deliver them considering there were only 13,460ha of new planting in the year to March 2020. Forestry is a devolved function in the UK, and so the Select Committee wants to know how effective co-ordination on forestry issues is between the four nations, including biosecurity, plant health and other cross-border issues. Focusing on England, the Select Committee wants to know why previous targets for increasing tree planting have gone unmet, and what lessons should be learned. It then asks what the Government should be trying to achieve by increasing forest cover in England, giving a series of examples of possible policy objectives, such as mitigating climate change, biodiversity and nature recovery, creating commercial opportunities from forestry, and improving human well-being and health. Finally, the Committee asks whether the right policies and funding are in place to protect and manage existing woodlands in England.

A wildwood at a significant ecological scale

You might wonder why this inquiry was launched only a couple of weeks after the closure of the consultation on a new Tree Strategy for England (4). As with its other inquiries, this Committee will go on to take oral evidence, produce a report, and seek a government response (5). Thus I suspect the inquiry will last long enough so that the Strategy will have come out in time for the Select Committee inquiry to consider it, but of course they will have had no influence on it.

The deadline for submitting written evidence to the inquiry passed a few days ago (3). I should have made the effort to respond, but since I am usually out of step with pretty much everyone, I wouldn’t relish the disappointment of it being ignored in favour of the less challenging responses, as has happened before (6). I wasn’t keen anyway, on seeing the framing of recreation in the policy objectives as a commercial opportunity arising from increased forestry coverage in England. Increasing woodland cover as a trajectory for nature recovery is an overdue restitution to our national heritage of wild nature that was taken from us for financial gain – our right to experience it should not be sold back to us. I felt the same about the overall tenor of the consultation on a new Tree Strategy for England, a predominantly anthropocentric and utilitarian view was given in the options presented for each of the consultation questions (7). I knew I would have a futile task trying to get across the natural value of woodland, and at a meaningful scale, as I would also with the Select Committee inquiry. Would it be so unreasoned to recommend that, rather than what is most likely to happen, a disconnected and disperse distribution of the annual 30,000ha of tree planting, there is instead for at least one year a concentration of that planting in one, big area? It could be a wildwood of the future and at a significant ecological scale.

In my defence, I should say it’s not for want of trying, since I did respond to a consultation in 2009 on the long-term role of the Public Forest Estate where I recommended that as our public lands, it should be the basis of ancient woodlands of the future in England, providing an experience of wild nature that is rarely available now (8). This was picked out to be included in a collection of illustrative quotations that accompanied the analysis and summary of the consultation (9) but these documents have disappeared without trace, conveniently ignored when the incoming government in 2010 determined to sell off England’s Public Forest Estate (10). I was aware, when I made that recommendation, that the Public Forest Estate in England is predominantly covered in non-native conifers, as it is in Scotland and Wales (see Table 1.1 in (11)). Thus it would have needed a wholesale restructuring to native trees. I had explored that the year before when I railed at the opportunity that was lost for a new, upland wildwood when the Forestry Commission sold off the 712ha of Threestoneburn Forest in Northumberland so that it would be deforested of its conifers and converted to grouse moor (12,13). Why not deforest and convert to native woodland?

At least since then, the Kielderhead Wildwood that I flagged up in 2017 (14) got going the following year with a first phase planting of 94ha along the Scaup Burn at the top end of Kielder Forest in Northumberland with 39,000 native trees over five years (15,16). Northumberland seems to have become a focus last year of forest industry lobbying for woodland creation (17,18). The influence worked because Government announced a commitment in October last year to kick-start a Great Northumberland Forest with up to one million trees planted between 2020 and 2024. (19). Forestry England says that the first stage of this ambition to increase woodland cover in Northumberland – presumably it means with native woodland - is to create three new public forests that will cover a total of up to 500ha (20). It has made a start by planting Rushy Knowe, a new 145ha woodland on land next to the western shore of Kielder Water. Rushy Knowe is surrounded on the other three sides by the massive conifer plantation of Kielder Forest, part of the Public Forest Estate. Ironically, with limited suitable land for new woodlands, Forestry England has had to buy 100ha of land near West Woodburn earlier this year to be able to create the second forest. With up to a further 250ha needed for the third new forest, the sale 13 years ago of Threestoneburn Forest looks increasingly unwise.

A dividing up of woodland interior

I wrote last time about analysing the data of the National Forest Inventory for Britain and found how small the vast majority of our broadleaved woodlands are, with 99.8% being less than 100ha (21). Thus in terms of existing native woodland in England, these new woodlands in Northumberland of between 100-250ha are a welcome addition as they will fall into the top 0.2%. I found that the largest area of broadleaved woodland in Britain, an area of 1,267ha, is on the South Downs in Sussex, and is predominantly leased by Forestry England (22). It’s a series of Ancient Replanted Woodlands (red hatch in (23) and pg. 12,13 in (24)) albeit the Forest Design Plan (FDP) says that they were all replanted with beech, a native tree, from 1940 to 1965 (pg. 6 in (25)). It is a working forest, managed under a Low Impact Silvicultural System of continuous cover by felling areas of less than 0.5ha together with a 5-10 year cycle of thinning (pg. 47 in (26)).

The claim in the FDP is that the woods of the South Downs “deliver more for nature conservation when they remain in active woodland management”, that the “forest cycle creates the greatest diversity of habitat niches to support the widest diversity of nature” (pg, 24 in (24)). This forest cycle has nothing to do with natural processes. As can be seen in the Priority Species Tables in the FDP, it is about maintaining a presence of non-woodland or woodland edge species in a forest through cyclical felling and thinning, as well as the widening, expansion and maintenance of open forest rides and forest roads (pg. 24 in (24)). It’s a management approach of constant disturbance that creates open spaces where those these species can move into, such as butterflies, bee orchid, and the nightingale and nightjar (pg. 17-20, 24 in (24)). However, the reality is a dividing up of woodland interior that, coupled with the absence of older trees (pg. 24 in (24) and pg. 38 in (26))) and the low level of dead wood (pg. 12 in (24)) limits the presence of woodland species dependant on the constancy that woodland interior provides, undisturbed by human agency (21). The FDP does consider the creation of Natural Reserves, rejecting them because of the timescale of decades for the transformation from plantation to “natural woodland” and for its consequence for the edge and open land species, but also because it is implied that there is not the freedom to create a natural reserve on the leasehold land (p. 24 in (24)). The two areas of freehold land are not considered suitable. As it is, under the terms of the leases, public access is limited to public rights of way like footpaths and bridleways (see pg. 6 in (25) and pg. 28, 32 in (27).

This forest area is in the South Downs National Park, England's newest National Park established in 2010 (pg. 28 in (27)(28)). The claim is that at 23% cover, the Park has more woodland than any other National Park in England, also that a third of it is working woodland ((29) Fig. 1.1 and pg. 65 in (30)). Well, the New Forest National Park would dispute that as it claims that it has 36% woodland coverage (31) but as I found last time, its largest area of broadleaved woodland is less than half the size of that in the South Downs National Park (21). Putting that into perspective, having the largest broadleaved woodland area in England is not a distinction when it constitutes only 0.8% of the ~1,600km2 of the South Downs National Park (pg.5 in (30)) and there is no public access. It’s certainly no distinction when stacked up against France’s newest National Park, Parc national de forêts.

Improving naturalness in the forests

A decade ago, I wrote about the participatory process between the State and Civil Society in France in 2007 that had come up with the ambitious goal of creating three new national parks, one of which would be a lowland hardwood forest (32). That woodland national park opened in November last year, and covers an area of 2,410km2 near Chaumont between Troyes and Dijon to the SE of Paris (33,34). Like all French National Parks, there is a core area in the Parc national de forêts surrounded by a membership or partnership area (see map in (35)). The core of 560km2 is subject to the restrictions on activities listed in the legislation that established the Park, and which covers rules on protection of the natural environment (36,37). Communities living in the membership area voluntarily sign up to the Charter that sets out the aims and objectives of the National Park, a document that was drawn up and approved with their participation before the legislation, and it is appended to the legislation (33,38).

What is astonishing about the core area of this Park is that 95% is made up of a number of large forests, of which 54.9% is state owned, 36.9% is community owned, and the remaining 8.2% is privately owned (Annex 2 in (39)). The wildlife of the Park is astonishing as well: it has a fifth of the French population of black storks (Ciconia nigra) other woodland birds such as the Tengmalm's owl, Northern goshawk, booted eagle, European pygmy owl and woodcock, and the woodland specialist bats European barbastelle and Bechstein’s bat (33,40). Woodland mammals include red deer, roe deer, wild boar, pine marten, fox, badger, weasel – its population of wildcat, or forest cat as it is called in France, is evidence of a more natural habitat selection and much wider distribution in France (41). There is also a range of woodland invertebrates, such as the "saproxylic beetles that feed on dead or decaying wood", and the “mosses, lichens and fungi, real bioindicators of forest health, which participate in tree growth and the degradation of organic matter” (33,40). Deciduous, broadleaved trees, the hardwoods as averse to conifer softwoods, dominate the forests, 80% of which have been in place for the 231 years since the French Revolution, giving a permanence of forest cover that has limited soil disturbance and supported species dependant on forest ecosystems (pg. 9 in (39)(40)). Beech is the most prevalent tree species, followed by oak and hornbeam, and with scattered amounts of ash, maple, cherry, lime and poplar (pg. 19 in (39)). The claim is that the forests of the national park are among the most diverse lowland forests in France, with up to fifteen tree species per hectare. Finally, there is free access to walkers in the core of the national park (37). There are some areas, or during certain periods, that may be restricted or prohibited, depending on the sensitivity of it natural environments or the need to preserve its tranquillity, such as black stork nesting areas.

The intention is that the state-owned forests act as exemplars for better protection of nature while using them for wood production ((33) pg. 8 in (39)(43)). Forestry in the core area is regulated, with no deforestation to open space allowed, and restrictions on logging that has visual impact, that may be detrimental to the conservation of wild species and habitats, and that may harm hydrology or archaeological remains (Art 17 (36) and explained in detail pg 65 onwards in (44)). The objective in the Charter of improving naturalness in the forests of the core area notes that two thirds of the species associated with trees in natural forests are not present until after the age at which they would have been economically exploited, and that dead wood, the quantity of which is recognized as one of the indicators of forest naturalness, is home to nearly 25% of forest biodiversity (pg. 19 in (45)). It then lists measures to achieve this improvement through spatially targeted creation of islands of aging or senescence that will be maintained until their death so that they restore deadwood to the forests; the preservation of older, isolated trees carrying characteristics favourable to biodiversity (seed bearing, cavities, nests, epiphytic ferns, mistletoe, climbers etc.) the lengthening of silvicultural cycles past the usual felling stage to create a presence of larger mature trees that are felled later; and favouring local species and natural regeneration. In addition, 3,100ha in the state forest of Arc-Châteauvillain in the N of the core area (35) has been set aside as a strict reserve (réserve intégrale) that will be the largest free-growing forest in France (pg. 18 in (45)). It will be a site of long term scientific study of the restoration of an exploited forest to a natural state and functioning, an educational space where the results of research work are explained and shared with the general public. The hope is that community and private owners voluntarily seek to identify all or part of their forest to be left in free development, as they may also adopt the other measures for increasing naturalness. It is a process described in the Charter as installing an intra-forest framework of naturalness, a network of forest areas in free evolution, serving as reservoirs of biodiversity, the islands of old wood and trees acting as corridors.

National Parks in development

I only recently came across Parc national de forêts and was excited at the prospect of a new woodland national park. I was hoping that most of the state forest in the core area would be unexploited, rather than there just be one relatively small area (5.5%) set aside as an unexploited strict reserve. The target for islands of senescence in the state forests of 5% outside of the strict reserve will double that area (pg. 21 in (45)) but that still leaves a substantial area of the forest in the core area under exploitation – as much as 94% if the community and private forests make no contribution to free evolution. It seems that the French are using the model of a national park to “protect a forest area characterized by a significant presence of human activities”, levering a wildlife-friendly approach across a “territory characterized by social importance and economic activities based on the sometimes very old exploitation of natural resources” (33). This is not what I expected when the core area of Parc national de forêts is purported to be a Management Category II protected area (46). It does not follow the guidelines for this type of protected area where the aim is to have 75% without exploitation (47).

As I have since found, someone commented on a draft of the Charter back in 2016 that it “provides for some good incentive practices which are barely equal to a Regional Park” (48). A Regional Park in France is a designation for a protected landscape, a protected area type where the presumption is that it is a working cultural landscape (47). Parc naturel régional de la Forêt D'Orient is the nearest regional park to Parc national de forêts, about 35 miles NW, and it is a Management Category V protected landscape area (49). Forest covers nearly 30%, mainly made up of coppice under high forest where mature trees and coppices with rapid rotation mix together, and where logging and woodworking trades (sawmills, logging, industrial joinery, furniture, etc.) remain an important activity (50). You may not be surprised to know that the South Downs National Park is also a Management Category V protected landscape area (51) as are all our national parks, given the extent of land use that characterises them.

Germany describes its national parks as “part of the country's natural heritage” (52). It is recognised that they are an area managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation, and that they be unaffected by human intervention for the greater part of their territory, or are “suitable for developing, or being developed, into a state which ensures the undisturbed progression, as far as possible, of natural processes in their natural dynamics”. This is an acknowledgement that a number of Germany's national parks are in a development phase towards meeting the criteria for a Management Category II national park, which requires 75 percent of the area be maintained in a largely natural or near-natural state through excluding exploitation or occupation inimical to its purpose of protecting one or more entire ecosystems. The progress of each park in Germany towards that criteria is facilitated by measures in Management Plans that remove barriers to the restoration of dynamic natural processes over the next two to three decades to land in a Development Zone that is then transferred into a Zone of natural dynamics. Most of the national parks also have a Management zone which will be an immutable service area of the park. Of the solely terrestrial national parks in Germany, the split between Zone of natural dynamics and Development zone ranges respectively from Hainich National Park that has 94% and 0%, down to Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park that has 40% and 35%.

Let nature be nature

Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park is the newest park in Germany, established around the township of Börfink in 2015, and filling a gap within the system of large scale protected areas in the south-west of the country (52,53). The states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland collaborated on developing the concept of a first cross state border national park of around 100km2, with Rhineland-Palatinate contributing 90% of the parks area (54,55). Both states had near-natural forest areas to comply with the requirement in the national biodiversity strategy to remove 10 percent of the public forest from exploitation. In Rhineland-Palatinate, 42% of the state is covered with forest, and a quarter of that, 2,084km2, is state-owned (56,57). There are 60 natural forest reserves within the state owned forest that average 33ha, and which are undisturbed by human intervention - the very old trees and accumulation of dead wood is said to “convey the impression and experience of primeval forest” (58). A number are in the Hochwald-Idarwald, a large contiguous forest landscape that was the focus in Rhineland-Palatinate for its potential to be part of a new national park (54). Thus Rhineland-Palatinate along with Saarland sought to contribute wholly state owned forest towards the establishment of the cross border national park (54,55).

The predominant natural forest community in these state forests is Luzulo-Fagetum, a common beech forest type in Germany (59). The concept plans of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland for the national park both recognised the development trajectory towards 75% being free of exploitation (54,55). This would be through "process protection - “Let nature be nature”” – a large-scale, undisturbed natural development – “Process protection and, as a result, “wilderness” is the core of the national park. It creates habitats for species and communities that have no or fewer opportunities elsewhere. It makes irreplaceable contributions and additions to biodiversity. As a result of the “wilderness”, process protection creates the unique quality of experience of the national park with effects on tourism, education and research. It offers the opportunity to experience the difference between cultural landscape and wilderness”. The concept plans identified areas within their forests that fit with the three zones: the natural, development, and maintenance zones. There was recognition again that trees are taken in a working forest at an economically optimal stage long before they have reached their natural age. Thus the population of old trees and the quantity of deadwood in the worked areas of the forests was limited, and with them their forest communities and natural dynamics. Areas in greater need of restoration were therefore allocated to the development zone, especially where there was domination by spruce, a non-native conifer. Spruce would be removed over the 30 year transition period and there would be a conversion to beech forest by planting young beech under the spruce. Also targeted would be the progressive closing of forests roads no longer needed as felling and removal of trees out of the forests tailed off, along with some paths that would also be withdrawn, the overall effect being to reduce forest fragmentation and increase woodland interior. There was a presumption that abandonment would lead to a natural regression of these roads and paths through overgrowth, rather than the use of technical measures.

In this way, the cessation of logging native trees, the removal of conifers, and the decommissioning of forest roads and paths, areas in development would progressively reduce and be transferred to the natural zone. This outcome would “enable visitors to experience nature freely and quietly” its benefits extolled – “In a national park, the creative power of nature will allow such original, inspiring landscapes to emerge again on a large, contiguous area. It will be a gift to our children and grandchildren to be able to experience this fascination in the national park as a counterpoint to the cultural landscape”. The opportunities for the park to play a role in environmental education were foreseen – “Experiences in nature are largely free from formalized preoccupation with ecological issues. However, through perception of aesthetic aspects or through formative experiences, they cause an emotional affection for nature. In addition, there is often the desire to know more about the nature experienced. Experiencing nature therefore often creates a demand for educational opportunities. In this respect, they act as door openers for environmental education and its goals”

The state treaty between Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland provides the legislation for the park (60). It covers the zonation, the purposes of the park in ensuring the “most undisturbed flow of natural processes in their natural dynamics in a predominant part of its area” and the objective to “preserve and develop the habitats of native animal and plant species, keep disturbances away from them and enable the natural resettlement of displaced species”. Public access is given for the purposes of “nature observation and education, nature experience and nature-friendly recreation”. Emphasis is given to the park implementing or commissioning educational and nature experience to “strengthen knowledge about nature and landscape as well as natural processes and ecological relationships, in particular the development of the wilderness”. In the protection and management requirements, the priority is for the park to “ensure the undisturbed development of natural and near-natural communities in the natural zone by means of suitable measures, and to transform communities into natural and near-natural conditions in the development areas”. Mandatory citizen participation is written into the legislation, requiring a yearly citizen’s forum to be held where the park seeks to actively engage the public with its objectives and plans, as well as seek comment and discussion. There are also six places reserved for citizens to be appointed with voting rights to the Municipal National Park Assembly.

All of this is in the National Park Plan, such as achieving the highest possible level of natural dynamics through avoiding human interference so that the park is no longer shaped by human agency – “This means that humans will no longer shape nature according to their ideas ”Let nature be nature” should apply to most of the area”, and the zonation that has the park divided into 40% as undisturbed wilderness where natural processes are already in control, and 35% in development areas that will gradually be transferred into the wilderness area by 2045 at the latest ((61) and see the map (62)). The route map in the park plan is about how the park is going to improve tranquillity and the nature experience through reducing the dense network of forest roads and trails through elimination, while focussing on signing a new trail system using existing paths that direct visitors in a targeted way to observe and experience nature (63,64). There is the commitment to public access so that you can freely wander around the forest, except for in the natural forest reserves (see earlier) where you have to stay on the paths (65).

The wider area in which the park is located was identified in 2012 to be one of 30 biodiversity hotspots in Germany, based on the presence of priority species and habitats in the EU Habitats Directive (66). It is shown on the hotspots map as area #13 - Saar-Ruwer-Hunsrück, Hoch- and Idarwald and Oberes Nahebergland (67). The description says that the forest ridges of the Hochwld and Idarwald are richly structured and almost completely wooded. Thus the vast contiguous forest of old-wood-rich beech with low disturbance are important habitats for species with large space requirements such as the wildcat, red deer and for old-wood inhabitants, such as black woodpecker, barn owl and Bechstein's bat (pg. 13 (65)). Even before that, a natural forest reserve where there was no commercial activity in what is now the park area (see above) became a long-term ecosystem research site in 1981 (68). Other natural forest reserves were added to this, and when the park opened, a new monitoring program began that covered the whole park, and which studies populations of birds, bark beetles, wildcats, bats, red deer, lichens, mosses and fungi, as well as the development of the whole forest and the associated dynamics. It is stated that the park contains the “biggest occurrence of wildcats in Europe”. This is also a claim made by the park, and so it is no surprise that it has the wildcat as part of its logo (69,70). It also says that the black stork, black red deer, roe deer and wild boar live in the park, and that the deadwood is home to 1,400 species of beetle, 16 species of bat that live within cavities in the dead trees, and 1,500 types of fungi that inhabit deadwood and decompose it. The park explains that spruce trees are not native to the area, having been planted in order to have a much quicker growing wood supply, and which are to be replaced by near-natural forests in the future (71).

Engages communities, children and individuals in trees

I dwelt on this description of Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park partly in awe of its aspirations for wild nature that permeate every document, including the legislation, and especially in seeing the oft repeated refrain of “let nature be nature”, but also in celebration of what can be achieved when there is a public understanding, involvement, and a will. It gives meaning to the concept of treespace that I advanced last time, a woodland interior that is characteristic of the ecosystem for woodland species (21). It’s hard to conceive how this could be achieved in Britain when there is no proper concept of what a real national park should be, of letting wild nature determine its own trajectory, nor the will to use what public lands we have to give freedom to wild nature and to people to experience it. It is frustrating and disempowering. It condemns our wild nature to a continual state of depauperation. There is, however, an element of treescapes happening in Europe that through small scale urban tree planting projects, engages communities, children and individuals in trees. These are mini- forests, an urban forest concept developed by Akira Miyawaki, based on potential natural vegetation through planting masses of fast-growing native species that result in high density and diversity (72-76). It has been taken up by Boomforest in France (77) IVN Nature Education in the Netherlands (78) and Urban Forests in Belgium (79).

IVN Nature Education provides a handbook on a step-by-step plan for the method (80). A checklist at the back is a guide to the physical and social characteristics that these mini-forest should have, such as an area of around 200m2, that you do your homework and plant only native species common in the region with at least 25 different tree and shrub species at a density of 3-5 trees per square metre, and that these can grow undisturbed for at least 10 years. Importantly, the local community should be involved in its planting, that it can be used as an outdoor classroom, as well as a place for neighbours to come together. Boomforest provides a range of explanatory documents for the Miyawaki method, including explanations of potential natural vegetation and ecological succession, as well as how to launch a project of natural restoration, the key steps in engaging participation, an example budget for costs, and practical details (81). Urban Forests list the impacts from these small woodland areas, such as high natural diversity; providing moments for relaxation and well-being; reducing air pollution, temperatures, and noise; as well as soil stabilisation and carbon sequestration (82). They back up these claims with their benchmark report on Miyawaki forests projects that have been documented across the world since 1980, such as in Japan, Brazil, Malaysia, and Sardinia (83).

The Urban Forests report briefly references a year-round study by Wageningen University of two mini-forests planted in an open green space in the centre of Zaandam in the Netherlands to show that they have higher diversity, both in number of species groups and number of individuals, compared to nearby forest (84). The photographs documenting their progress after planting are inspirational. The monitoring in the study was carried out as a citizen science project with 12 volunteers working with experts and schoolchildren, which seems appropriate with the overall ethos of mini-forests. The location in W Europe means they have relevance to our climate and species compositions, and thus the species lists and quantities planted are a useful resource, especially since one of the mini-forests was planted with fruit-bearing trees and shrubs as well as the native trees. Given their accessibility and achievability, I am pleased to see that mini-forests have reached Britain, a first appearing in Witney in Oxfordshire where 600 trees were to be planted by volunteers and by staff and councillors from the Town Council in a 200m2 plot (85).

The mini-forest planted with fruiting shrubs and trees reminded me of the island guilds I used to plant 20 years ago as a class practical with people attending courses on Permaculture Design and building natural gardens (86). I could see the sense of achievement in the class and hoped that the mimicry of natural systems would rub off in their further inquiry. Perhaps we need the gatekeepers, the decision makers on public policy, to get their hands dirty alongside a community designing and planting a mini-forest. Afterwards we should task those decision makers to think what it would be like if it was ten times the size, a hundred times the size, a thousand times the size, a million times the size. We then tell them that we have to think on the scale of that final size, because it is equivalent of having two Hunsrück-Hochwald National Parks, the minimum that is needed in the UK if we are to take wild nature seriously.

Mark Fisher 21 November 2020

(1) Forest focus: can the Government deliver on tree-planting targets? MPs launch new inquiry, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Select Committee, UK Parliament 1 October 2020

(2) Tree planting on the up in England, DEFRA Press Office 12 June 2020

(3) Call for evidence: Tree Planting and Woodlands, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Select Committee, UK Parliament

(4) Overview, England Tree Strategy, DEFRA

(5) Tree Planting and Woodlands Inquiry, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Select Committee, UK Parliament

(6) Fisher, M. & Parfitt, A. (2016) The challenge of wild nature conserving itself. ECOS 37(3/4): 27-34

(7) England Tree Strategy Consultation, DEFRA June 2020

(8) England's Public Forest Estate - public ownership now and for future generations, Self-willed land 25 February 2011

(9) Mark Fisher (@markwilderness) Twitter 24 September 2020

(10) The Forestry Commission and the sale of public forests in England, Research Briefing SN/SC/5734, House of Commons Library, UK Parliament November 2014

(11) Forestry Statistics 2020, Forestry Commission September 2020

(12) Threestoneburn Forest - a lost opportunity for a new wildwood, Self-willed land December 2008

(13) If you go down to the woods today, Peter Frost, frostysramblings September 8, 2019

(14) A science-based movement for wilding, Self-willed-land February 2017

(15) Kielderhead Wildwood, Northumberland Wildlife Trust

(16) Kielderhead Wildwood – Rediscovering Wildness at Kielder

(17) Confor 'excited' by new forest in Northumberland, Confor 30 September 2019

(18) One million trees to be planted in Northumberland, Bill Edgar, Hexham Courant 1 October 2019

(19) New measures protect animal welfare and increase woodland cover, DEFRA 1 October 2019

(20) Forestry England makes significant land purchase, Forestry England News 29 April 2020

(21) What is a Treescape? Self-willed land September 2020

 (22) South Downs Phase 2 Forest Plan, Forestry England

(23) Ancient Woodland on South Downs, Sussex, MAGIC

(24) Land and Natural Environment, South Downs II Forest Design Plan 2013 — 2043, Forestry Commission England

(25) Introduction, South Downs II Forest Design Plan 2013 — 2043, Forestry Commission England

(26) Review and Analysis, Working Woodlands, South Downs II Forest Design Plan 2013 — 2043, Forestry Commission England

(27) Communities and Places, South Downs II Forest Design Plan 2013 — 2043 Forestry Commission England

(28) South Downs National Park, Campaign for National Parks

(29) Healthy Woodlands, South Downs National Park

(30) Partnership Management Plan 2020–2025, South Downs National Park

(31) State of the Park report 2019, New Forest National Park

(32) The most unnatural conservation policy possible, Self-willed land July 2010

(33) NAISSANCE DU PARC NATIONAL DE FORÊTS - Le 11e parc national de France, DOSSIER DE PRESSE Novembre 2019

(34) Parc national de forêts

(35) Coeur et aire optimale d’adhésion - Carte annexée au décret créant le Parc national de foréts

(36) Décret n° 2019-1132 du 6 novembre 2019 créant le Parc national de forêts, Legifrance, République Française

(37) La réglementation du cœur, Parc national de forêts

(38) La charte, Parc national de forêts

(39) Livret 1 : Ambitions et défis du projet de territoire, Charte du Parc national de forêts

(40) La faune, Parc national de forêts

(41) Chat forestier, CARMEN, Réseau petits et méso carnivores, Office français de la biodiversité

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(43) La filière forêt-bois, Parc national de forêts

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(51) South Downs National Park, Protected Planet

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(59) Hainsimsen-Buchenwald, Deutschlands Natur

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(63) Wegeplan, Steckbrief, NationalParkPlan, Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald

(64) Karte 5, Wegeplan Kartenanhang, NationalParkPlan, Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald

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(73) Akira Miyawaki and his method, Boomforest


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(76) Why do we need Tiny Forests? earthwatch Europe

(77) Boomforest

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