The Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It was set up in 1919 to expand Britain's forests and woodland after depletion during the First World War. To do this the commission bought large amounts of former agricultural land, eventually becoming the largest land owner in Britain. The Commission is divided in to three national organisations; Forestry Commission Scotland and Forestry Commission Wales report to the relevant devolved authorities.
Over time the purpose of the Commission broadened to include many other activities beyond timber production. One major activity is scientific research, some of which is carried out in research forests across Britain. Recreation is also important, with several outdoor activities being actively promoted. Protecting and improving biodiversity across Britain's forests are both part of the Forestry Commission's remit.
The Commission received criticism for its reliance on conifers, particularly the uniform appearance of conifer forests and concerns over a lack of biodiversity. Protests from the general public and conservation groups accompanied attempts to privatise the organisation in 1993 and 2010.
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“Children cannot eat rhetoric and they cannot be sheltered by commissions. I dont want to see another commission that studies the needs of kids. We need to help them.”
—Marian Wright Edelman (b. 1939)