You may have noticed a flurry of messages this year, from all kinds of organisations and initiatives promoting the importance of planting more trees. This is more than just the latest social media trend calling for attention – it’s a call for help in doing what we can for our environment.
How many trees do we need?
- The government’s 25 Year Environment Plan has a target to increase woodland cover to 12%.
- The Committee on Climate Change, which advises the government, recommends that we need at least 17%, or ideally 19%, woodland cover across the UK by 2050 to meet net zero carbon ambitions. In response to this, the government has set out what it will do in its England Trees Action Plan 2021 to 2024.
Woodland cover in Devon is approximately 9.9% of land area.
Increasing tree cover doesn’t just mean planting woodland
One of the challenges for Devon is how to fit more trees and woodland into existing woodland and enclosure patterns in a way that protects and enhances the character of the landscape and the sense of place that we value.
There are many ways to include trees in the environment other than planting forests or woodland. Trees can also be established through hedge planting, orchard restoration, natural regeneration, and green infrastructure; keeping nature in mind on new developments.
If you’re interested in launching your own planting scheme, doing your bit for biodiversity and /or what you can do to enhance your local area through tree planting, check out the Right Place Right Tree guidance.
Did you know there are potentially over 22 different sources of funding for tree planting in Devon?
If you would like more information on where to find sources of funding, you can fill out this form: https://forms.office.com/r/bCT4ucwKCg
By describing who you represent, and how many trees you would like to plant, the form recommends a personalised list of potential funding sources.
What motivates local councils to plant trees?
According to a recent Devon Local Nature Partnership questionnaire, the most popular incentive for local councils to carry out tree planting was ‘to enhance the natural environment’
Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (“the NERC Act”) places a duty on public authorities to have regard for the conservation of biodiversity when delivering their functions. Now that the ‘Environment Act’ has been passed through parliament, there have been textual amendments to section 40 of that Act. The revisions make more explicit the requirement for public authorities to not just conserve, but also to enhance biodiversity.