2011 has been declared International Year of Forests by the United Nations General Assembly. The Year of Forests will raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
The announcement is welcomed by The Mersey Forest Partnership, whose work at the local level has made its own important contribution to these themes in recent years. For example, all woodlands owned by St.Helens Council and Sefton Council are now certified as sustainably managed to international standards - with timber from the woodlands able to carry the well-known FSC logo. Knowsley Council is also on the path to achieving this certification for its woodlands.
Next year will also coincide with the 20th anniversary of the start of The Mersey Forest. In 1991 The Mersey Forest was established, and a small Forest Team began work to prepare The Mersey Forest Plan for the environmental regeneration of the local area, which was launched in 1994.
Since then The Mersey Forest Partnership has planted more than 8 million trees and engaged more than 100,000 people from communities across North Cheshire and Merseyside.
To celebrate the 20th birthday of the Forest, a 'thank you' event for all those who have contributed to the greening of the local area over the course of two decades will be held at Risley Moss Local Nature Reserve in June, as part of the reserve's annual Green Safari festival.