After a public outcry over changes to forest management, the English government has decided to change its stance.
The government previously planned to sell off almost 15 percent of the public forest estate to offset costs. The land is valued at around $1.1 billion and costs about 23.5 million to manage each year—roughly 47 cents per year per person in England.
Now, the government will not only keep the land, but is also establishing a new public body to protect and maintain it for future generations.
The shift is in no small part thanks to Save Our Woods, an organization that was formed to raise awareness about public forests in England.
The public’s reaction “…underlined the importance of woodlands in the day-to-day lives of very many people,” according to the Final Report by the Independent Panel on Forestry. “More widely it showed that our trees, woods and forests are hugely undervalued. The value of the benefits they provide to people, nature and the economy has not been recognised in public policy, and successive Governments have simply not seen them as a priority for public.”