Paul Tabbush is chair of Landscape Research Group, retired head of social science research at the Forestry Commission. He spoke to forests as a cultural ecology, and then clarified a set of ideas about ecosystem services. Paul began by characterising the “iconic” Black Wood as having open space, notable understory and a scattering of large mature pines. “It is a unique pine wood. It is iconic and fantastic.” But he also stated that it is a result of 18th Century actions, conflicts and grazing. From that position he went on to explore the cultural meanings and attitudes to woodlands, referencing John Muir and Yosemite, and our understanding of terms like 'natural' and 'wilderness'. He presented a framework that revealed how conservation policy created what are effectively private enclosures, and asks us to consider that all forest is cultural. He then went on to frame the ecosystem services/cultural services agenda. He talked about the need to assess cultural values as a basis for conservation policy.

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