Grant funding will be made available to stimulate the development and testing of new ideas that can help improve the ecological condition of woodlands, and their resilience to climate change, via increased demand for wood and increased levels of woodland management.
The Woods into Management (WiM) Forestry Innovation Funds are now open for applications. Applicants are invited to submit proposals spanning up to two financial years (ending by March 2025). Proposals may be costed at up to a maximum of £100K per year.
The lead applicant must be an England based business, sole trader, organisation, or research organisation. Should the lead applicant not be England based the application will be rejected.
Projects can be single year with output(s) that will be fully developed by 27 March 2024 or run for up to two financial years, ending 27 March 2025.
Applications should be submitted to Forest Services by 23.55 on 15 May 2023.
There are funds available in four different categories, as follows:
Timber in Construction Innovation Fund
More widespread use of wood-based products has the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of construction, whilst locking away carbon long term and driving investment into tree planting and establishment. Increasing the use of English hardwood timber can help owners improve the ecological condition of their woodland, address tree health problems and increase resilience to climate change. This grant aims to increase and facilitate the use of sustainable English wood and wood fibre in construction from sustainably managed English woods and forests.
Through the innovation fund, applicants are encouraged to develop new timber products for use in construction, or new methods of construction that will enable greater use of English timber.
Routes to Market for Ash Timber Innovation Fund
Ash dieback is expected to cause many millions of our ash trees to die over the next 10-20 years. Using wood from infected trees in wood products and energy generation projects could help owners offset the cost of managing ash dieback. This fund is open to organisations including woodland management companies, conservation organisations, timber processors and forestry agents to support the development of new business models that will develop new supply chains for ash timber and help restore woodlands damaged by ash dieback.
Temporary Infrastructure Innovation Fund
To carry out habitat improvement operations including the felling and extraction of trees, suitable access is required. This fund is aimed at woodland management companies, contractors and owners with multiple blocks of woodland. Applicants can bid for funds to develop business models that will use temporary infrastructure including (but not limited to) aluminium or rubber roading, logshutes and ‘Bailey’ type bridges to access neglected or degraded woodlands.
Regional Woodland Restoration Innovation Funds
The threats faced by our woodlands and the biodiversity they support are numerous and varied. They include a lack of adaptation to climate change, diseases such as ash dieback and Phytophthora ramorum, insect pests, over grazing by deer and ring barking by grey squirrels. In addition, in many parts of the country there are opportunities to restore conifer and hardwood plantations on ancient woodland sites and to improve the condition of woodlands SSSI. The Invitation to Apply for each of the Regional Woodland Restoration Innovation Funds has been developed through collaboration with the regional Forest and Woodland Advisory Committees (FWAC’s) to identify priority areas for activity across the five regions. These funds are open to a range of organisations including forestry businesses, conservation groups and membership organisations who are in a position to help owners better manage their existing woodlands.