Woodland Improvement Ltd. was founded in 1937 by C P Ackers on his estate at Huntley Manor, Gloucestershire, England. C P Ackers was one of the most significant figures in British forestry from the founding of the Forestry Commission in 1919 until his death in 1960.
Woodland Improvement Ltd developed under him as a forestry school, which was noted for taking ex-servicemen after both World wars in the 20th century and training them in all the necessary practical skills combined with the most up to date theoretical knowledge. From this the company grew into providing a unique range of contracting and consultancy services to landowners and estates across the country.
His woodlands at Huntley employed 117 people in its heyday. It was a foremost example of practical estate forestry of the time and it still is today. Indeed it was the woodlands which carried his estate through the Great Depression of the 1930s. There are many similarities today in the dramatic challenges and choices facing land use decisions. His practical survival disciplines and know how, his skills in making things happen in a cost effective manner are still an example and inspiration to us. He knew that some investment has often to be made and nurtured through the early years before a sustainable woodland can appear.
Biodiversity nowadays means multi species and often a multi age class woodland, a good balance of light and shade with well designed edges, carefully chosen native species and good predation control. Implementation means skilled people who know what they are doing and who will travel from site to site as landowners decide to make an investment in new well managed multi purpose woodlands or in restoring their neglected woodlands. It especially means a knowledge of the complicated grant support system for woodlands which, where available, can now make a very substantial contribution to cost and create a secure grant income over as many as 15 years.
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