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Forestry and Birds of Prey

Position statement to the Forestry Panel

The Hawk and Owl Trust is Britain’s only national charity working solely to conserve wild birds of prey and their habitats – through creative conservation, practical research and imaginative education.

This position statement is the policy of the Hawk and Owl Trust on the future of the National Forest Estate managed by the Forestry Commission.

The Forestry Commission and through it the forests it manages have an exceptional record for the conservation and protection of birds of prey. At a time when illegal persecution remains a critical problem on many estates, the Forestry Commission and its forests stand apart as the place where birds of prey are safe.

The Forestry Commission also has an exceptional record of pro-active management for birds of prey, ranging from the care it takes to avoid disturbing the nests of key species like goshawk to active protection of the rarest species.The Forestry Commission has:

  • been responsible through protection and the scale of its forests for the successful re-establishment of goshawk in England
  • hosted the re-introduction of red kites in several regions
  • ensured undisturbed nesting areas for rare and threatened honey buzzards in the eastern counties
  • provided a haven for England’s returning wild ospreys in an eyrie built and protected by the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park and RSPB in 2001, since viewed by over 1 million people
  • together with the RSPB, been showing people nesting peregrines at Symonds Yat, Herefordshire, for over 20 years.

The Forestry Commission has a growing reputation for working in partnership and with its local community – as demonstrated by the recent successful partnership with the Hawk and Owl Trust to find out more about the rare and secretive long-eared owl in the forests of South-west England, involving volunteers as well as Commission staff.

The Hawk and Owl Trust believes that:

  • Forestry Commission forests must remain in national ownership and be given effective protection in the public domain for all of us, for ever
  • the Forestry Commission should be given a new constitution and a new remit with protection of the environment at its heart to enable it to continue its management of forests on behalf of everyone in England
  • the Forestry Commission and its management of forests are crucial to the achievement of the Trust’s core aim ‘to see birds of prey reaching their full potential as a vital and beautiful part of the UK environment’.

This position statement is made by the Trustees of the Hawk and Owl Trust
Chairman Mrs Barbara Handley

July 2011

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