218 pages, no illustrations
Roderick Leslie joined the Forestry Commission (FC) in 1976 and subsequently occupied a variety of senior roles in forest policy and practice including a spell as Chief Executive of Forest Enterprise England. During this time the FC underwent significant changes as it moved from the massive tree planting programmes of it's first 50 years to managing the forests it had created. Having an interest in birds and conservation, the author found himself at the centre in the conflicts that eventually stopped new conifer planting in the uplands. As Environment Manager in England he describes the long climb back from the unpopularity of the FC in the 1980's to the overwhelming public support that halted Government plans to sell the FC forests in 2011.
Forest Vision is about much more than trees and timber: it is about how best to use the precious space of our countryside in an increasingly crowded country. It explains how the FC's ground breaking concept of re-structuring, completely redesigning forests to answer the critics of even aged conifer monoculture underpinned exciting programmes for recreation, nature conservation, landscape and community engagement. From repairing the scars of heavy industry around our towns and cities to the re-invention of wood as a modern fuel, Roderick Leslie goes on to explain how the FC experience can help Government create the new resilient landscapes essential in the face of climate change and to find space for development without destroying our environment.
Aimed not just at professionals but anyone who appreciates and enjoys our FC forests, Forest Vision passes on the experience that turned the FC into the successful forward looking organisation it is today.
"Those who have met Rod Leslie will know that he is not shy with his opinions. He is combative, stimulating, persuasive and enthusiastic. [...] Yet he thinks that most people, conservationists included, still 'don't get it' – a phrase which you will read repeatedly in this book. The FC [Forestry Commission] might have acquired a big, tender environmental conscience, but it seems not to want to tell anyone (certainly not in its dreary annual reports). So Rod, lately retired as the FC's senior environmental manager, will tell us instead. This book is an extended argument for the retention of the state-owned forests and the continuance of a forestry body independent of Defra. [...] This book tells a story that needed the telling. It would have benefited from another round of editing, and, perhaps inevitably from someone so immersed in his subject, it can sometimes be hard to see Rod's forest for all the trees in it. I hope that many politicians and conservationists read it, but, if they are to do so. Rod will probably need to find a good distributor. "
- Peter Marren, British Wildlife 25(6), August 2014
"[...] This book is written by someone who knows his subject and is thoroughly engaged with it. Some might find it odd that people can be so passionate about trees, and others will find it odd that there aren’t more people who share that passion. Whichever you are, you should read this book. If you do, I think you will learn from it and enjoy it. [...]"
- Mark Avery, Standing up for Nature blog
1. Forests In Crisis
2. Towards The ‘Flow Country'
3. The New Foresty
6. Privatisation 1: 1993-4
7. Land And Timber
8. The New Forest
9. Organisation And Management
10. The Cutting Edge
11. Privatisation 2: 2010-11
12. Future Forests
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