It is vital the Government hears the message that real nature recovery must be the goal
All photography - Dave Watts
The Government has announced a big chunk of funding (several hundred million) for a new National Tree Strategy, with the aim of substantially increasing woodland cover in England. The Government has just launched a public consultation on this – and it is of vital importance, please, that you and / or your organisation takes the time to respond.
Our view is that the strategy should aim to deliver real nature restoration, with a multiplicity of real, tangible benefits – rather than just focusing on ‘trees’ and ‘carbon’. Blanketing the uplands in commercial plantations of non-native conifers, for example, would achieve those two objectives without fulfilling what could be a much wider set of goals. Some of the best ideas floating around are:
- The establishment of new buffer woodlands on either side of our rivers and streams the length and breadth of the country. This would give us corridors of nature through the landscape – a ready-made nature recovery network, natural flood management, cleaner water, as well as plenty of new trees and lots of carbon sequestered (all stated Government goals);
- The protection, expansion and connecting up of existing patches of ancient woodland;
- The establishment of new woodland in and around our towns and cities – to provide people with ready access to real, vibrant nature;
- Agroforestry and silvopasture – the blending of trees and farming, as was the case for millennia here in Britain (here is an article on exactly this topic);
The encouragement of natural process-led woodland regeneration is far better than the manual planting of trees – because it is much less costly, and creates more diverse, more resilient habitat than trees (native or not) planted in rows. Isabella Tree, author of Wilding, explains beautifully why this is the case here.
Please take the time to respond to the consultation, and ask your own contacts to do the same. It is of huge importance that the Government hears the message loud and clear from as many people and organisations as possible that real nature recovery must be the goal of the new National Tree Strategy.