Prince Harry to Visit QCC Project

Prince Harry to Visit QCC Project
Prince Harry during the unveiling of the first of four dedications towards the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy project at the Victoria Park Botanical Gardens in St John's Antigua.

Prince Harry to visit Queen’s Commonwealth
Canopy Project at Epping Forest

Wednesday 15th March 2017

Prince Harry will visit Epping Forest to view the Wood Pasture Restoration Project which is part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) on Wednesday 15th March.

Launched in 2015, the QCC is a conservation initiative which aims to create a global network of indigenous forests to benefit communities and wildlife, now, and into the future. The forestry sites dedicated to the QCC will be preserved in perpetuity to mark Her Majesty’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

Epping Forest, which is managed by the City of London Corporation, is London’s largest open space, and an ancient woodland located within an busy urban environment that covers around 2,400 hectares. It is home to over a million trees, 50,000 of which are ancient pollards. For over 1,000 years, the forest has been grazed by cattle and other animals and together with traditional tree management practices, such as pollarding, this has helped to shape a distinctive forest landscape and unique biodiversity. The tradition of cattle grazing in the forest has steadily declined throughout the 20th century, which has adversely impacted the local ecology.

Prince Harry will visit the forest to learn about the area’s natural and historic heritage, and to see the work that is being undertaken as part of the QCC project. This includes efforts to reinstate cattle grazing across 600 hectares of the forest using satellite collars and fenceless grazing technology. HRH will also receive a briefing on wood pasture management and meet arborist teams involved with ancient tree conservation work.

Prince Harry will also see areas of the forest which are used for recreation and enjoyment. HRH will meet local school children involved in a range of education conservation activities aimed to provide wildlife experiences and increase awareness of the value of indigenous forests. The activities will include conducting tree investigations, identifying plant health problems and pond dipping.

Steeped in Royal history, Epping Forest was opened in 1882 by Queen Victoria when she made a public address under the Queen’s Oak Tree, to dedicate the forest to “the use and enjoyment of my people for all time”.

To conclude the visit, His Royal Highness will plant a tree and gather with school children under the Queen’s Oak Tree to mark the Epping Forest QCC dedication.

In 2016, Prince Harry visited five QCC dedications during his visit to the Caribbean, including projects in Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.

Launched by The Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in 2015, an appeal was made to all 52 Commonwealth nations to contribute areas of indigenous forest to be preserved in perpetuity to mark Her Majesty’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

Since then, 21 Commonwealth countries have dedicated forestry projects or are planting new forests, with another 10 countries in the process of finalising submissions. By the time of CHOGM in 2018, which is to be held in the United Kingdom, it is expected that all nations of the Commonwealth will have joined the QCC initiative to create a global network of indigenous forests to benefit communities and wildlife, now, and into the future.

In November 2016, The Queen held a reception at Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the countries that have dedicated projects by presenting High Commissioners with a certificate of QCC partnership.

Epping Forest was dedicated to the QCC by the City of London Corporation in 2016. Conceived by the Right Honourable Frank Field MP, the QCC is a partnership between the Royal Commonwealth Society, Cool Earth and the Commonwealth Forestry Association.

The City of London Corporation protects and conserves 18 major green spaces in London and south east England – including two ancient woodlands – and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile. They include important wildlife habitats, sites of scientific interest and national nature reserves.

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