I’m making a series of videos, exploring hopes and fears for the future of our forests. In the second film I talked with Dougal Driver, of Grown in Britain, about why we manage woodlands. This February, we filmed at the beautiful Dartington estate, and I talked to forester Jez Ralph, of Timber Strategies, about resilient woodlands. 

He said it’s a hugely exciting time for forestry, and described ‘resilient woodlands’ as those with a focus on the future. “Modern forestry combines the traditional craft of silviculture with new technological processes and environmental understanding… looking at what’s right for the soil, what’s right for the site, and what’s right for society.”

As a sawmill owner, I asked if these more complex, resilient woodlands might make it more difficult and expensive to harvest and process timber.

He said “it might make it more difficult, more complex, and more expensive, but I think we have to change the way we look at timber supply. In the past, as foresters, we’ve been dictated by what the customer wants but now we have a much better understanding. Things like climate change mean that we have to manage forests for their own health first and foremost. No healthy forests  – no timber for you at all!”

We’re looking forward to making the next film this March, and the series will continue through the year. I’m hoping for many more interesting conversations, and I’d welcome your comments.