The fifth edition of the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) was published on 3 October, following an extensive review process. The aim of the review was to ensure the UKFS remains upto date, balanced in terms of the social, economic and environmental principles of sustainable forest management, and applicable across the UK. It was overseen by a Project Board made up of government representatives from the four administrations and was coordinated by Scottish Forestry. This edition has been developed with a range of technical specialists, leading researchers, and organisations and professional bodies with expertise and interests in the economic, social and environmental aspects of forestry. The final content of the new edition was co-produced by the four administrations.
The update reflects the improvements in scientific knowledge, developments in international approaches to forestry, new or amended legislation, and new information about best forestry practice. Where necessary, good practice requirements have been amended or added to encourage more direct action to ensure forests remain, healthy, vibrant habitats providing timber and a range of environmental benefits.
Louise Simpson, the Institute’s Executive Director, commented:
“Firstly, we want to congratulate and express our thanks to those at Scottish Forestry and the steering group for facilitating the UK Forestry Standard revisions – this process has been a complex one to navigate. The UKFS plays a crucial role in delivering sustainable forestry management in the UK and the sector should be proud of the commitment by all four countries to support it. The Institute will play its part in ensuring its members are aware of the updates and has received funding from the Defra Trees Call to Action Fund to deliver Lantra accredited training on the UKFS 5th edition, available to anyone working in the forestry and affiliated sectors.”
The Institute would like to thank all of our members who have responded and provided valuable input and feedback into the consultation process, making the revision of the UKFS a cross-sector collaboration, strengthening the content across key themes including:
- improving the resilience of forests through adaptions to meet the challenges of a changing climate
- managing the carbon in forests and woodlands and throughout the forest planning, management and harvesting cycle
- a more systematic approach to biosecurity
- ensuring there is complementary action between woodlands and wider land use objectives
- recognising the importance of timber production alongside wider objectives
A 12-month transition period is in place to allow guidance to be updated, users to become familiar with the new edition, and draft woodland plans to be finalised. The UKFS 4th edition (2017) is to be used until 1 October 2024, when the UKFS 5th edition will be applied.