To provide a unified voice to champion trees, woodland and forestry across the towns, cities and shires of the West Midlands and to further their inter-action with wider interests and agendas.
Terms of Reference
• To raise the profile of trees, woodlands and forestry in the West Midlands, demonstrating the linkage to local agendas, strategies and processes, in the light of the Government’s commitment to managing and expanding sustainably England’s Trees, Woods and Forests and through the West Midlands Forestry Framework (WMFF).
• To aspire to the bold vision for trees, woodlands and forestry, assisting the implementation of the Forestry Framework, helping to ensure that local distinctiveness is addressed and key priorities and actions are clearly expressed and actions monitored.
• To provide an effective network for communication, co-ordination of action and empowerment for key organisations and individuals in both public and private sectors, plus partnerships and initiatives addressing woodland and forestry issues in the West Midlands.
Key Issues For the Forum
Overarching: To oversee the implementation of the Forestry Framework, through the work of the Steering Group, ensuring ownership by the Forum and its constituent organisations and that appropriate key connections to the West Midlands agenda are in place. Monitor and steer helping to ensure that effective lines of communication and resources are in place.
Arranged under the Themes of the Forestry Framework :
1. Tree and Woodland Cover
- To create a significant resource of new woodlands, both urban and rural, using robust targeting initiatives and incentives – the right tree in the right place for the right purpose.
- To inform and encourage development of existing woodland at both landscape and site scales, which reflect and enhance diversity, landscape character and local distinctiveness.
- To protect, manage and enhance the long-term sustainability of existing trees and woodlands in rural and urban locations.
- To use individual trees and woodland to enhance local distinctiveness and sense of place, and also to increase resilience to the effects of climate change.
2. Trees, Woodland and Forestry Industry
- To work towards the sector being viable, dynamic and competitive in terms of being able to supply sustainable renewable materials and woodfuel, increased product diversification, anticipating and meeting carbon and other market requirements.
- To achieve a healthy tree, woodland and forestry sector delivering economic output alongside ensuring the effective delivery of combined environmental and social benefits.
- To sustain the woodland and forestry workforce and encourage new entrants, supporting skills development and knowledge transfer for the sector
- To engage and re-engage with growers, owners and land managers in actively managing woodlands for sustainable economic gain
3. Wood Energy & Recycling
- To support the move to a low carbon economy for the West Midlands
- To move wood energy from a recognised niche market to a more mainstream activity
- To ensure trees, woods and forests make a significant contribution to the West Midlands energy supply for business, public sector and domestic markets
- To develop closer working relationships between energy and recycling
- To address the barriers to ongoing infrastructure development, e.g. planning, access to wood, security of supply, the assumptions of key leaders and decision makers
4. Recreation and Tourism
- To embed the Framework in West Midlands economic, cultural and tourism strategies
- The tree, woodland and forestry sector to become recognised as a significant contributor to the West Midlands' recreation, tourism and leisure opportunities whilst delivering economic and environmental benefits
- To develop sustainable woodland and forestry-related tourism in the West Midlands and reduce the barriers through education and demonstration
- To increase the opportunities for everyone to enjoy trees, woodlands and forests
5. Health and Well Being
- To secure recognition, understanding and commitment at a strategic level for the contribution of woodland and forestry to the health and wellbeing for all of us
- To develop woodland based-health opportunities for people living in, working in and visiting the West Midlands, e.g. NHS Forest
6. Fostering Social Inclusion
- To provide more information and greater opportunity for all of us to appreciate, understand and have better access to the benefits of trees, woodlands and forests
- To enable people to connect to the natural environment through the experience of trees, woodland and their wildlife
- To enable people in the West Midlands to achieve greater personal potential through woodland learning and associated activities such as tree planting
7. Enhancing Biodiversity
- To deliver relevant nature-conservation objectives for trees and woodland as set out in legislation, international commitments, national and local policies and local strategies and plans.
- To achieve woodland and other linked and associated semi-natural habitats’ targets in policies and strategies, with particular regard to national and local biodiversity strategies and relevant associated local Biodiversity Action Plans.
8. Climate Change
- To increase the contribution to climate change mitigation from trees and woodlands and the ways they provide adaptation for society and the environment, as well as increasing their own resilience to a changing climate and delivering environmental services.
9. Green Infrastructure
- To use existing and new trees and woodland as a key tool to improve the physical environment of the West Midlands for investing, living and working in
- To develop public and organisations’ understanding and support for green infrastructure