New Forest Inclosures Forest Plan, 2019-2029
The Plan encompasses around 8500 hectares of the approximately 27,000 hectares of the New Forest Crown Lands managed by the Forestry Commission.
The Inclosures are included within the New Forest designations of Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest. These designations identify qualifying and notified features including open habitats of heathland and grassland, ancient pasture woodlands and wetlands as well as species such as ground nesting birds, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates. In addition to these features, many other habitats and species benefit from the unique historic management of the New Forest.
The Inclosures, as part of the New Forest Crown Lands, fall entirely within the New Forest National Park and as such and play an important role in the delivery of the objectives of the National Park Authority.
The New Forest Inclosures have also historically been an important source of forestry products including high quality timber and firewood. These products resulting from management of the Inclosure woodlands have historically, and continue to provide, employment opportunities, income to support the wider management of the New Forest and high quality products for use by people far and wide.
The New Forest lies in the south of England, within commuting distance of London and in an area of increasing human population and urban development. It is estimated that the New Forest is subject to around 12.5 million day visits per year, averaging around 34,000 visits per day.
The Plan has been developed to balance the high value that the New Forest offers to nature, the economy and people.
The objectives of management in the New Forest Inclosures are:
Develop Natural habitats of better quality and greater resilience, including planning for changes to the natural environment by:
- Maintaining or restore the extent and distribution of designated habitats and species
- Maintaining or restore the structure and function of designated habitats and the habitats of designated species
- Maintaining or restore the supporting processes on which designated habitats and the habitats of designated species rely
- Maintaining or restore the populations and distribution of designated species
- Restoring native woodland and open habitats
- Developing a network of habitat links to reduce the vulnerability of fragmented sites
- Increasing the quality of edge habitat by ride edge and streamside enhancement and by developing a mosaic of woodland types and open space
- Providing a proportion of successional temporary open space for key bird species
- Maintaining other suitable habitats for Lepidoptera;
- Protecting veteran trees and retaining standing or fallen deadwood
- Exploring site suitability of less prominent native species which can compliment the special features of the landscape
- Increasing the structural diversity of the Inclosure woodlands
- Developing riverine habitats, wet woodlands and bog woodlands along watercourses within fenced Inclosures
Develop woodlands that are sympathetic to the wider landscape and enhance the natural landscapes for public appreciation and enjoyment by
- Where appropriate, implementing changes to the landscape over a long time period (e.g. 200 years)
- Maintaining an accessible network of ride and tracks linked to high quality access points which are best placed to balance public enjoyment with protection of habitats and biodiversity
- Informing and engaging people in the cultural, natural and economic value that the New Forest provides to local, national and international communities
- Ensuring historic features are protected and enhanced for the enjoyment and use of future generations
Improving economic viability of land management by:
- Growing quality timber that is fit for purpose so far as is consistent with the other FP objectives where the long term management objectives will result in the sustained production of such timber
- Exploring alternative avenues of income generation derived from activities fulfilling the other FP objectives
What we’ll do
The plan was consulted on and originally submitted to Forest Services (FS) for approval in April 2017.
The New Forest Inclosures Forest Plan involves the Restoration to Open Habitats of 290 hectares of conifer plantation within the Inclosures during the 10 year Plan period (2019 – 2029) and the conifer removal on Ancient Woodland Sites of 89 hectares.
The deforestation is proposed in order to restore degraded heathland habitats within the New Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The impacts of implementing these proposals are to be examined through the Environmental Impacts Assessment (EIA) process under the EIA (Forestry) Regulations, administered by FS.
As proposers of the project we were required to produce an Environmental Statement which outlines the key impacts, both positive and negative, that form part of the proposal’s application for consent to FS.
The final version of the EIA maps was sent to Forest Services in March 2019 during the consent phase of the EIA process.