The Midlands Forest Network – a growing web of connected woodland habitats for people, nature and business

On 7th February 2024 the Midland Forest Network (MFN) held their launch event at The Exchange in Birmingham, to share their vision, bring participants from all sectors together and build a perpetual partnership, which will enable swift, collaborative, and consistent delivery of woodland initiatives across the Midlands region. The current government target for tree canopy and woodland cover across England by 2050 is 16.5%. Currently the total woodland cover is 7.4% of the Midland Engine so there is a potential for millions of trees to be planted and several hundred thousand hectares of new habitats to be created.

The MFN is currently in its two-year development phase with the lead partners The National Forest, The Woodland Trust and The Midland Engine Observatory.  This is an ambitious initiative that will expand and connect woodland habitats through our landscape, urban areas and communities. The MFN is calling for more organisation to join this growing network of initiatives and shape the developing strategy.

The MFN will be convening and leading on gathering data and mapping across the region to identify the key ‘nodes’ and new woodland corridors to connect them together. A benefit of this regional approach will be bringing together the work of existing mapping such as within LNRS to make these corridors work across boundaries and counties. The baseline map will be developed with our stakeholders who will then be able to access the information on our Intelligence Hub to prepare plans, informing strategies and policies. You can add any existing or potential projects that you are working on here.

You are welcome to join the growing network of partners within the MFN Forum to inform the strategy and both contribute to and benefit from the shared knowledge, best practice, funding opportunities and advocacy for the region. The forum will be the platform for communicating with other stakeholders and being involved in workshops and events.

The MFN is looking to reach a larger, more diverse audience by engaging underrepresented and under-served communities utilising umbrella groups to help expand reach. Please reach out to MFN and you or anyone in your network can help to collect and promote examples of good practice in this type of community engagement and ensure these groups have their views and experiences represented in the strategy.