People Working for Nature in the Urban Forest

Clive Davies

North East Community Forests

England’s community forests

The Community Forest programme in England, announced in 1988, started as an experimental initiative with an ambitious vision for the creation of well-wooded landscapes in and around major urban areas for work, wild­life, recreation and education. Community Forests have evolved into skilled exponents of landscape scale change, developing the contribution of strategic environmental thinking to a wide range of environmental, so­cial and economic agendas.

Community Forests cover large areas around the edges of towns and cit­ies but unlike many forests they are not continuous plantings of trees. In­stead, Community Forests comprise a mosaic of wooded landscapes and land uses including farmland, villages, leisure enterprises, nature areas and public open spaces.

They are intended to create areas rich in wildlife, whilst making provi­sion for access, leisure and education – providing attractive areas in which to live, do business and enjoy leisure time.

The Community Forest programme believes that woodland provides a good environment for recreation and can absorb relatively large numbers of visitors without significant loss of visual amenity or damage to nature habitats. Indeed the creation of new Community Forests has led to an in­crease in the opportunities for creating new wildlife habitats and involving people in this work.