The Woodland Trust warns that with trees being one of the Government’s top priorities at COP 26, the UK risks failing to meet its carbon net zero ambitions unless more trees are planted, woodland restored and the condition of woods improved. This prediction came just weeks before international climate change conference COP26 and on the eve of the launch of its third nationwide campaign (the Big Climate Fightback) to get people planting more trees.
The charity is sending more than 700,000 free native trees to schools and communities to kickstart an autumnal blitz on tree planting, with a further 680,000 trees available to apply for to be planted next March. In total, the Woodland Trust will be sending out nearly 1.4 million free trees over the coming planting season to support the Big Climate Fightback.
Dr Darren Moorcroft, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said not enough trees have been planted in the past, and “With recent decades warmer, wetter and sunnier than the 20th century, it is clear we are in a climate and nature crisis. We remain one of the least wooded countries at 13 percent woodland cover, compared to 37 percent in the rest of Europe. Without greater action, small and fragmented woods will remain that way and species will face extinction.”
The Woodland Trust’s recent State of the UK’s Woods and Trees report:
• Woodland species are in steep decline. Woodland specialist birds have declined by over 80% since 1970.
• Tree disease and pests are causing local extinctions of wildlife species across the UK.
• 85% of individual field trees have been lost over last 150 years.
Dr Moorcroft continued, “Not only do we not have enough trees, what we have is still at risk and as a result nature has declined steeply. The UK has created less than 300,000 hectares of new woodland in the last 20 years. Over the next 20 years, we need three times that amount.”
To learn more about this and to apply for trees, go to: woodlandtrust.org.uk/bigclimatefightback