The concept of the network came from an Institute of Chartered Foresters field day at Westonbirt Arboretum looking at the potential of a range of new and novel species to provide UK forestry with resilient, varied and useful species for the future. Whilst seeing examples of these species in an open grown arboretum environment was all very well we felt it would be useful to be able to see how these potential species grew in a forest environment to assess their suitability for particular sites.
We felt that to be able to visit a site of a species of interest, to see photographs, reading owner’s opinion or even just to know others have tried it would be a valuable asset to the forestry community. Having come up with the original concept the Forestry Commission agreed to fund the establishment and piloting of the website. Sylva has a wealth of knowledge on user-friendly forestry website design, having set up myForest. They provided technical knowledge to design and manage the website.
Having set up the site we now need to continue growing it and running it. To ensure the information is correct and up-to-date we have an advisory group meeting twice a year to approve edits to species information. Forums need administering, technical issues need resolving and the web site needs to be hosted. To do this requires c.£6,000 a year. If you would like to support or donate to this project to ensure a thriving forest resource in the UK no matter what climate or markets develop please contact us.