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Shooting benefits woodland conservation

The report, which was backed by the Prince of Wales, spells out the CLA?s vision for woodland and calls on the government to increase funding for culls of grey squirrels and deer in order to protect Britain?s woodlands and help boost the timber industry.

The CLA?s president, Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, explained that if woodland management does not become profitable, it will die: ?The potential is enormous and largely unrealised. In England we currently harvest less than 40% of the volume of timber that grows in the woods each year, squandering this valuable and sustainable resource. In England and Wales, between 2003 and 2008, new tree planting almost halved, falling from 5,100 hectares a year to 2,800 hectares a year. Forestry and woodland is over-regulated by government and out-of-control deer and grey squirrel populations have wreaked havoc.?

The 15-page report states that the relationship between keepers and foresters is integral to the management of woodland.

The CLA?s woodlands and forestry adviser Mike Seville told Shooting Times: ?The report emphasises the benefits that shooting already brings to woodland.

It states: The management by gamekeepers means that woods used for shooting are generally in better ecological condition than those with no sporting interest. The income derived from country pursuits supports much woodland management and in many cases is currently the only incentive for such management. As well as benefiting game species, the gamekeepers? work also significantly enhances biodiversity.

Mr Seville added: ?If woodland is under-managed, it can make no financial return for its owners and conservation work cannot take place. The CLA is now calling on the government to recognise the important role that shooting plays in the financial success of woodland and the overall conservation of wildlife.?

To read the report, visit