Why Manage Woodland?
Many small woodlands in Dorset are currently under-managed. The Woodlink Project aims to support the management of these woodlands through promotion of local products and encouraging the woodfuel market by creating an economic value for wood produced from these woodlands and trees. We can also put you in touch with people able to carry out woodland work.
Making the most of Dorset's woodlands
- For Wildlife - Re-instating appropriate management ensures that wildlife is maintained, protected and enhanced. To restore woodlands to their native habitat type detrimental species need to be gradually replaced with native species.
- Ancient Woodlands in the landscape - The management of these woodlands and forests has helped to create a stunning landscape; they are an important feature of the county's two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Multi-purpose woodlands - Dorset's woodlands and forests are used in many ways and can support the local economy through provision of jobs and products. They also play an important role in leisure and recreation activities and education.
- Protection - Woodlands need protecting from deer and squirrels. They need to be managed carefully to prevent this damage and allow the woodlands to regenerate naturally.
The vision is detailed in the 2007 Droset Trees, Woods and Forest Strategy. Developed with lots of partner and public input, the strategy is a widely agreed reflection of priorities and aims for all things woody. This document can help if you're planning a new wood-focussed project or looking for funding to develop woodland activities or business. The AONB Partnership and Woodlink will support activities that are meeting the priorities in this strategy.
Download the strategy here: Woodland Strategy 11.34 Mb
How to Manage woodland
Woodlink aims to bring woodland owners and managers together with suitable contractors and buyers of woodland products. No matter how small or big your woodland, it could be a source of woodfuel or other woodland products. Although difficult to manage, many woodlands will become more viable as demand for woodfuel increases.
As woodland owners/managers you don't need to own any specialist equipment or machinery, such as a chipper. Dorset AONB can put you in touch with those contractors that have the knowledge, skills and machinery to undertake woodland operations. By managing your woodlands, their value will increase for wildlife as well as economically.
- Felling and Thinning - Depending on the tree species, thinning can take place at 10-25 year intervals. The main reasons for thinning are to improve timber quality or biodiversity and the techniques will differ depending on the aims. Clear felling is undertaken for commercial reasons, mainly with conifer species. A good example of this is the work being carried by Dorset Countryside at some of their sites.
- Coppicing - A traditional method of ‘harvesting' broadleaved trees, usually for economic reasons but more recently to maintain biodiversity interest within a site. It involves cutting at, or close to, ground level which encourages and stimulates the growth of new shoots from the stump. Depending on the species, the regularity of cutting is typically between 7-10 years for hazel and up to 20-25 years for ash.
- Continuous Cover - Continuous cover forestry involves the maintenance of a forest canopy during all stages of regeneration and has a presumption against large areas of clear felling. This results in a very structurally diverse woodland or forest, in many cases much better for wildlife.
- New Planting - New plantings are an important part of woodland management and can greatly enhance existing woodlands. Many of Dorset's woodlands are quite isolated and by planting new woodlands in between these areas can be linked.