The Forest of Dean.





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Forestry & the Forestry Commission

Historical Background

Mature Oaks
By 1900, the Forest was well stocked with virtually all broadleaved trees, principally oak, although ironically by this time, the need for shipbuilding timber had been superseded by steel. During the two world wars, the stocks of timber in the Forest were again depleted (a quarter of the Forest was clearfelled in WWII), and to secure a strategic supply of timber for future contingencies, much replanting was undertaken with conifers. This trend continued until 1971 when the proportion of broadleaf timber in the forest had fallen to 42% and a ministerial decision was taken to reverse the trend. In the intervening 30 years the proportion of broadleaves has increased to about 50%.

As in the New Forest, the management of the Forest is overseen by the Verderers, at least as far as the "vert and venison" (trees and deer) are concerned. Quarterly meetings are held in the Verderers Court in the Speech House, a practice dating back since 1218. In practice, the Verderers are consulted about the whole range of management issues affecting the Statutory Forest.

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