By the Chairman of the Forestry Commission
All of us depend on forests. We use products made from wood every day. Millions of us visit forests for exercise and relaxation. We take pleasure from the animals andplants that live in our forests, even though we may never see them.Following many centuries of clearance for farming and settlement, the area of woodland has doubled in the last hundred years, and is still increasing. However, ourforest cover is still far below the European average, and nearly all of our originalnative forests are gone.From the Earth Summit in 1992, through the European and global agreementsreached since, and right up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in2002, the UK has been at the forefront of promoting sustainable forestry, both athome and abroad. We take our international commitments seriously, and workingwith partners we are building them in to our shared objectives for our woods andforests. The Forestry Commission is proud that all the state forests in the UK havebeen certified as being sustainably managed.Indicators are for everyone, to know the current status and track trends, so we can actin our different ways to ensure that our forests continue to provide for generations tocome. These Indicators of Sustainable Forestry highlight the role of forestry inhelping to achieve sustainable development in the UK. The indicators cover the threestrands of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.Forestry is devolved; all four countries have strategies that reflect their commitmentto sustainable forestry. Each country will monitor against its own objectives but wewant to be able to consider the UK situation as well.This publication is the culmination of a long consultative process to which manypeople have contributed. We are grateful to all those who have helped us develop theindicators, by offering comments or making data available. This indicator set is thestart of a journey, not the end, and we will be refining and developing the indicatorsas our understanding grows.
David ClarkRt Hon Lord Clark of Windermere