A F T E R T H E WA R – A L E GAC Y
R E F OR E STAT I ON
By the end of the war, around 20% of Britain’s trees had been felled,
in some places changing the landscape dramatically.As Lloyd George
said, Britain ‘
had more nearly lost the war for want of timber than
of anything else
’.Aware that the war had exposed the lack of national
planning for forestry the Government passed the Forestry Act in
1919, establishing the Forestry Commission to lead on the creation of
a forest resource for future emergencies.
At first the board was made up of eight commissioners, chaired by
Simon Fraser, 14th Lord Lovat from 1919 to 1927.The Commission
was set up to increase the amount of woodland in Britain by buying
land for reforestation. It also started to promote forestry and the
production of timber for trade. During the 1920s the Commission
focused on acquiring land to begin planting out new forests.
Much of the land they bought was previously used for agricultural
purposes. The Forestry Commission’s estate continued to grow to
the extent that it was just over 360,000 hectares of land by 1934.The
low cost of land in the Depression and the need to increase timber
production meant that by 1939 the Forestry Commission was the
largest landowner in Britain.
General Simon Fraser, the 14th Lord Lovat and
3rd Baron Lovat at the Canadian Forestry Corps
Sawmill in the Forest of Conches. Note German
prisoners working. 22 July 1918.
10 materials of war