Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Re-posting: Save Lakeland's Forests

Coincidences are funny things. My first post today was about a potential catastrophic threat to the Amazonian rainforest, whose fate lies in the hands of the government and later on today I discover another campaign closer to home to save woodland from potential government sell-off to private companies. 

We're all connected; forest in your backyard or rainforests across the world - its worth saving each and everyone. Let's just hope governments realize this before its too late, we can only but keep at them...

Save the Lake District's Forests 
The Government want to sell off England's publicly owned forests, which include forests and woodlands across the Lake District such as Grizedale, Whinlatter and Ennerdale. The Government is launching a consultation on selling off the forests. However, legislation in Parliament now would give the Government the power to sell off all the public forests.  Our public forests in the North West of England include over 200 kilometres of walking and mountain bike trials - many of them in the Lake District. And all are free to use, 365 days a year.

If sold, new owners would only have to guarantee access to the land on foot. Bikers and horse riders could be kept out. They can even make access for walkers more difficult, for example, by putting up fences and closing car parks.   Our forests are also an important habitat for wildlife such as ospreys and red squirrels. Only last year the Forestry Commission started a major new project to reintroduce red kites to the county's forests.

The sustainable management of woodland requires a lot of work. All the Forestry Commission’s woods are independently certified against the internationally recognized Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) standard. A new owner would not be required to certify their woodlands.  There are 22 million trees in the public forests across the north west of England, more than three trees for every person living in the region. The Forestry Commission also plants half a million trees each year, two trees for every tree they fell.   Our public forests in the north west store 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year helping combat the effects of climate change.

What we would lose
1) It will be more difficult for walkers to access the land. New owners can put up fences, remove car parks and will have no obligation to maintain footpaths.  
2) There will be no right for people like mountain bikers and horse riders to access these forests in future.  
3) New owners will have no obligation to continue to protect and improve habitats for wildlife. 
4) While the Forestry Commission is increasingly replacing conifers with native wodlands this process is likely to be reversed by new owners.
To sign the petition please CLICK HERE

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