Written by Phil Brown, Badger Bushcraft News Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:23
We have just received an interesting yet disturbing email from Hannah at the 38 Degrees team titled "Could our forests be at risk again?" which we have repeated below with all the relevent weblinks and Phil's answers to the poll at the bottom of the blog page.
"Dear Badger Bushcraft,
Just a few months ago, over half a million of us came together to win an incredible victory. Against the odds we convinced the government to abandon their plans to sell our forests. Together, we sounded the alarm with a massive petition, thousands of emails to MPs and national newspaper ads. People power worked!
But our forests could still be at risk. When the government abandoned their forest sell-off plans, they said they'd set up an “independent panel of experts” to help decide the future of our woodlands. Now, the panel is up and running. They’ve said they want to hear ideas from thousands of us about the best way to protect our beautiful forests for our children and grandchildren.
The panel has just started work. But we know they answer to the same minister who cooked up the plans to sell the forests in the first place. So, although the panel could make sensible plans for our woodlands’ future, they could be under pressure to rubber-stamp more sell-offs. Together, we can stop that happening.
We don’t have long. We’ve got until the end of July to answer their questions about our woodlands. We need to make sure that they get tens of thousands of messages telling them how much we love our woods, as places to play, walk, cycle, learn and much more.
Can you take 2 minutes to answer the panel's questions now? A flood of messages will show the panel that the public wants our forests protected, not sold off to private companies. We’ll collect all our answers together, and hand them over to the panel as a huge, people-powered message - protect our forests:
The questions the panel are asking aren't complicated and you don't need to be an expert to answer them. Anybody who cares about our forests can have a say. They're asking things like, “what do forests and woods mean to you?” There are five questions all together. But if you’ve only got time to answer one or two, that’s fine as well.
Over half a million 38 Degrees members have already done an incredible job of protecting our woodlands. Now, we need to work together to make sure this panel knows how many of us care about our forests, and don’t want the government to try to go ahead with another sell-off.
Please take 2 minutes now and send your message to the forestry panel now
Thanks for getting involved,
Hannah, Johnny, Marie, David, Cian, Becky and the 38 Degrees team
PS We’ve only got a few weeks to respond to the panel, so please send your message now. Get started here:
 The Government scrapped plans to sell off the forests after 38 Degrees members mobilised:
 More information on the Forestry Panel:
 Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will hear recommendations from the Panel before making further decisions on our forests
More information on the Forestry Panel’s call for views:
 You can add your thoughts about this campaign on the 38 Degrees blog:
Phil is passionate about our woodland and forest heritage and has published his answers to the 38 Degress poll below:-
What do forests and woods mean to you?
The woodlands and forests of the United Kingdom are the heritage of both todays and future generations and it is the duty of this generation to preserve, enhance and expand this precious and often overlooked resource. Woodlands and forests provide priceless amenity spaces and access for a population that has been migrating into the towns, cities and expanding urban sprawl. According to the increased interest and the opinions of our expanding client base there is more interest now in these the verdant areas blessed by the canopies of the beautiful trees than ever before – and lots of our clients are children who will become tomorrows generation and the custodians of our sylvan heritage.
What is your vision for the future of England’s forests and woods?
The vision we have for the forests and woodlands of England is one of hope where we can involve the population from all walks of life, all age groups and abilities in enjoying and enhancing our natural habitats and where we can escape from the modern world back into the landscape that once was our home, our grocery and medicine store. Our vision is one that all green spaces are valued beyond the monetary labels so often employed and placed by governments and organisations – how can something without tangible value be given a price tag?
What do you feel to be the benefits of forests and woods? This could be to you personally, to society as a whole, to the natural environment, to the economy?
The value as natural habitat and biodiversity is beyond reckoning and beyond value. There are obvious benefits for carbon capture, clean air, sustainable timber production, local and rural employment, wildlife habitat, amenity areas, biomass carbon neutral fuels, etc., etc. - the benefits of forests and woodlands are too long to list here or in any other document without the time to sit down and write a sizeable tome.
We would like to hear about your suggestions of practical solutions and good practice which can be replicated more widely.
Our suggestion would be the recruitment of volunteers to be trained with funding from the corporate worlds CSR (Corporate Social Responsibly) funds that could act as custodian, land manager, outdoor educator and facilitator for enhanced access and understanding of the wooded and forested areas.
What do you see as the priorities and challenges for policy about England’s forests and woods?
The priorities are to preserve, educate and enhance existing and future forest and woodland areas. The challenges are to stop looking at our sylvan heritage as though it is “money in the bank” that can be cashed in, frittered away or land-banked by speculators and investors.
Every opinion counts folks and it only takes a few minutes to complete the questions so please make your voice heard!