Our Community Wood-fuel Days take place in some of Edinburgh’s Millennium woodlands and give local people the opportunity to extract wood-fuel to heat their own homes, while also playing an active role in improving woodland biodiversity and resilence. Lead by our project officers, groups work together to thin and prune these juvenile woodlands. This creates more space for remaining trees and for shrub and ground layer plants to flourish. The extracted timber is then processed into lengths and shared equitably amongst the project participants to be split, seasoned and then burned at home.
Using wood as fuel
Wood fuel is carbon lean. By this we mean only a little carbon is released during the processing and transportation compared with the carbon locked up in the wood. In comparison,the processes of mining, extracting, processing and shipping coal, oil and gas are extremely carbon intensive.
When wood-fuel logs are burned, carbon dioxide is released, but in a well-managed forestry cycle, an equivalent amount of carbon is locked up through the growth of the trees that take the place of those which have been cut down. This creates a cycle that is both sustainable and achievable for us and for future generations. Wood-fuel logs are also one of the cheapest ways of heating your home.
Benefits for the Environment
The benefits to the planet don’t just stop at reducing carbon emissions. By removing selected trees, we are letting extra light onto the woodland floor. We are also careful to leave shrub layer plants in the woodlands where we work – species like holly, hazel, hawthorn, dog-rose and bramble. Nature loves messiness and these species give good cover for small mammals and nesting birds. Managing the woodlands in this way increases biodiversity – the ecosystem is enriched, more species thrive and resilience is enhanced.
Higher up in the canopy layer, our woodland management activities now will encourage the growth of well-formed trees with high timber value. If selectively and sustainably felled in the future, these can be made into beautiful timber products – made and sold locally and locking up carbon for a long time. One of many potential outputs from the positive and vibrant woodland culture that we are trying to nurture.
Benefits for You
In addition to creating greater access for the community to enjoy these woodlands, working in the woods and felling trees is a fantastic exercise for improving your mental and physical health. We will show you how to work safely and which trees or branches to cut down. You get a good lunch, great exercise, good company and a car-load of wood fuel, all for a small fee.