£4m funding will enable innovative projects to enhance tree planting stocks and woodland resilience to help meet Government net zero by 2050 ambitions
Applications for the Forestry Commission delivered Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds and the Tree Production Innovation Fund were reopened on 13th March 2023 to further support expansion and management of our nation’s trees and forests and futureproof them against stresses like pests, disease and climate change.
This year, almost £4 million will be allocated to successful applicants across both funds, which together boost nature regeneration efforts, promote biodiversity, and support innovative approaches to tree production, tree health, and woodland resilience through increased and improved active management of woodlands, amidst a changing climate.
Building Woodland Resilience
As tree planting across the country increases, the Tree Production Innovation Fund will support the development and deployment of new technologies and ways of working which will provide a diverse supply of healthy young trees.
This will support Government ambitions to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament and plant 30,000 hectares of trees across the UK per year by 2025.
The announcement comes ahead of the new woodland episode of the BBC wildlife documentary Wild Isles, presented by Sir David Attenborough, that will explore how ecosystems and habitats support wildlife around the UK, including the importance of protecting our woodlands.
Richard Stanford, Chief Executive, Forestry Commission, said:
“Our trees and forests are under threat from climate change, pests and diseases. Trees have to be resilient for the very long term of their lives and we need to innovate to ensure the woods we have, and those we must grow, thrive.”
“The projects supported through these funds are essential in supporting efforts to build larger, more diverse and more resilient treescapes across the country and I strongly encourage all suitable projects to apply today.”
The Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds aims to bring an additional 20,000 hectares of existing woodland into active management, which can help boost biodiversity, build woodland resilience and protect against pests and diseases.
The fund will also support projects which will develop new technologies and working practices to help homegrown timber production meet domestic and international demand.
This will help to bolster timber security and grow the United Kingdom’s forestry and primary wood processing sectors, which support 30,000 jobs and contribute over £2 billion to our economy every year.
The third round of the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds and the Tree Production Innovation Fund are now open. The closing date for the Tree Production Innovation Fund is Tuesday 9th May. The closing date for the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds is Monday 15th May.
Forestry Commission are hosting webinars to support with the application process, learn more below.
Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds
Approximately 40% of England’s woodlands are not actively managed, which can be detrimental to biodiversity and leave neglected woodlands vulnerable to pests and disease.
Projects which successfully apply for funding through the third round of the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds will receive a share of £1.7 million, as the Forestry Commission aims to bring an additional 20,000 hectares of existing woodland in England into active management by 2024/25.
Under the umbrella of the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds, the Timber in Construction Innovation Fund supports projects which increase and facilitate the use of English timber from sustainably managed woods and forests in construction.
Other funds support new business models and supply chains for ash timber to help restore woodlands damaged by ash dieback, as well as initiatives using temporary infrastructure to access neglected or degraded woodlands.
Moreover, a series of regional funds will support forward-thinking projects that enable the active management of woodlands where previously not possible. Applicants in the forestry and associated sectors, as well as local authorities, are invited to submit multi-year proposals spanning up to two financial years (ending March 2025), with individual projects valued at up to £100,000 per year.
Tree Production Innovation Fund
Also reopening, the Tree Production Innovation Fund will make over £2 million available to projects striving to enhance the quantity, quality, and diversity of tree planting stock available for planting in England, improving woodland resilience.
The Fund supports the development and deployment of new technologies and ways of working which will provide a diverse supply of healthy young trees in the quantities required to realise ambitious tree planting plans across the country.
Applicants are invited to submit multi-year proposals spanning up to two financial years (ending March 2025), with projects valued at up to £200,000 per year.