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Trees and woodlands benefit the water environment in a number of ways. They protect aquatic habitats and species, preserve the quality of drinking water, alleviate flooding, and guard against erosion, landslides and the loss of soil. It is vital that we manage our forests, woodlands and trees sustainably to protect these environmental goods and services. Many forest management practices can impact on the water environment as a result of soil and vegetation disturbance or by altering the pathways of water movement. Poor forest management can diminish or reverse the benefits provided by forests and woodlands, contribute to local flooding and risk severe water pollution. This Practice Guide provides advice to forest managers, practitioners, planners and supervisors, on how forest operations should be planned and managed to protect the water environment. Applying this guidance will help ensure that forest operations comply with the UK Forestry Standard Guidelines on Forests and Water, which are the primary source of information on the legal and good practice requirements.

The Guide is supported by a fold-out ‘cab card’ for operators which illustrates key points of good practice. Five copies of the card will be supplied with each printed copy of the Practice Guide, or it can be downloaded free of charge here: Managing forest operations to protect the water environment – cab card.

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Printed publication format:
A4, 52 pages
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Please direct your publication orders to:

Forest Research Publications (CST)
Chetham House, Bird Hall Lane, Cheadle Heath, Cheshire, SK3 0ZP

T: 0161 495 4845
F: 0161 495 4840



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Publication type
UKFS Practice Guide


Publication owner
Forestry Commission