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Shooting benefits woodland

Shooting has been acknowledged as a key part of woodland management in an independent advisory report to the Government on the future of England?s forests.

The Independent Panel on Forestry, established last year after the furore over Government plans to sell off publicly owned woodland, says that management for gameshooting is a sustainable activity that provides significant employment, conservation and economic benefits.

The report recognises that shooting in woodlands ?is estimated to account for about 28,000 jobs in the UK, with an approximate value of £640million to the economy.?

It goes on: ?The contribution to local and, especially, rural economies may be more significant than statistics suggest.?

Countryside Alliance executive chairman Sir Barney White-Spunner welcomed the report. ?Britain?s woodlands form a part of our unique national landscape which needs to be preserved and treasured,? he said, ?and, to be viable in the long-term, woodlands need to pay for themselves.

?There are numerous examples of forests and woodlands that are managed ? at no cost to the public purse ? by shoots and private land managers, who provide public access and recreation, local employment and contribute to the economy. These woodlands are also areas of high conservation value.?

The report also states that pressure from the expanding deer population is a factor in reducing biodiversity and woodland habitats.

The rest of this article appears in the 11th July issue of Shooting Times.

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