Approach to nature projects

The two Community Forests in North East England have undertaken a wide range of nature projects. These are undertaken as an integral part of multi-purpose forest creation or forest management. This implies that na­ture activities are undertaken within a wider range of crosscutting themes, which includes leisure, recreation, sport and landscape improvements. The balance of these crosscutting themes is established at the design stage of a project and the scheme is then designed around them. For example in some cases a high priority is given to nature values and this may put tight limits on recreation opportunities and visa versa.

In most cases new projects have a strong measure of public involve­ment, especially on sites that are close to residential areas. Nature activities have proven popular with local people and are encouraged by Community Forest staff as they are of a scale where public involvement can yield quick results.

The Community Forests employ staff who are trained as Community Liaison Officers. These staff have expertise in nature management as well as in community development. In the North East region this is further strengthened by the employment of a biodiversity specialist.