The Forest We Want

In October 2021,  Forest Economic Partnership (FEP) and The Forest of Dean District Council launched a survey to discover whether the public and businesses want the Forest of Dean internationally recognised as a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Initially, the Council and the FEP are helping to explain to Forest of Dean residents what Biosphere Reserves are, and asking people to complete a short survey to gauge support for achieving Biosphere Reserve status in the area.

Cabinet member for climate emergency, Cllr Chris McFarling, said, “For many, this may be the first time they hear about biosphere reserves, and I encourage everyone to engage with the information available.

“Biosphere Reserve status has the potential to protect the Forest of Dean for generations. It is about strengthening our relationship with nature by introducing initiatives that reduce or eliminate activities that negatively affect the environment. This is achieved by promoting the wise use of natural and human resources, protecting unique habitats and promoting health and wellbeing through engagement with the natural world.

“This will only happen though, if there is support from local residents and local businesses. Please take part in the survey and voice your opinion, to ensure you get the forest you want.”

As a part of the Community Engagement Forest of Dean District Council have also releases a series of short videos about the benefits of Forest of Dean becoming a Biosphere Reserve.  

Watch them all here: 


Episode 1: What would a Biosphere Reserve status mean for the Forest of Dean

The first in a series of five short films Councillor Chris McFarling explains the basics of a Biosphere Reserve, what it could mean for the Forest of Dean and how residents can share their opinion for what they want for the future of their forest.

Episode 2:  Sustainable Coppicing in the Forest of Dean 

Councillor Chris McFarling explains how sustainable coppicing can provide local timber, increase carbon sequestration and protect vital ecosystems in the Forest of Dean.

Episode 3: The potential of peat bogs in the Forest of Dean 

Councillor Chris McFarling, explains how a Biosphere Resignation would seek to bring back more peat bogs to the Forest of Dean. Chris explains how this can increase biodiversity, decreases flooding during extreme rainfall and act as a great way to store carbon in the ground.

Episode 4: How could Biosphere Reserve status improve water quality in the Forest of Dean? 

Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency, Cllr Chris McFarling explains how a biosphere reserve would encourage reduced pollution into the Forest of Dean's waterways to help improve water quality, protect at-risk species and have a positive impact on the climate emergency

Episode 5: Development in a Biosphere

Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency explains how Biosphere Reserves encourage the development and growth of local businesses in sustainable ways that prosper for generations.
To find out more about the Forest of Dean’s potential Biosphere Reserve status and check out the survey, visit