The Woodland TrustThe Big Climate Fightback is a campaign to encourage people to plant more trees.
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Of course it’s open to interpretation but has there ever been a more apt moment for a literal reading of this saying?
Sign upSubscribe to the Burnley Express Today Newsletter
The i newsletterReduce the noise
The Woodland Trust has made a dire prediction about the UK’s ability to meet its carbon net zero ambitions with just weeks left before the international conference on climate change, COP26. It is imperative that more trees be planted, trees are restored, and wood conditions improved.
A report from the charity had already presented a sobering picture of the health of the country’s trees and woods, noting that only seven per cent of UK native woodlands were in good condition.
However, as the adage implies; ‘better late than never’.
Dr Darren Moorcroft, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said that not enough trees have been planted in the past, but “things can change.”
“With recent decades warmer, wetter and sunnier than the 20th century and 2020 the third warmest on record, it is clear we are in a climate crisis, but we are in a nature crisis too,” said Dr Moorcroft.
“This is a dismal and sobering picture. Our woods are not in good shape and we are still one of the least wooded nations with 13% woodland cover, compared with 37% in Europe.
“Without greater action, small and fragmented woods will remain that way and species will face extinction. But it is not too late – things can change.”
The Woodland Trust’s third nationwide campaign – the Big Climate Fightback – aims to get people planting more trees.
The charity has distributed more than 700,000. There are 680,000 trees that can be planted in March.
In total, the Woodland Trust will have sent 1.4 million free trees by March to support the Big Climate Fightback, which is backed by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
“We all can play a role to increase tree numbers to help the environment recover and address the climate crisis.”
“Not only do we not have enough trees, what we have is still at risk and as a result nature has declined steeply,” said Dr Moorcroft.
“While action on biosecurity and woodland loss is largely outside the influence of the public, we can all play a role in increasing tree numbers to help nature recover and tackle the climate crisis.
“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 – and 1.44 million hectares of new woodland by 2050. It’s an uphill task and the pace needs to pick up, but together it can be done.”
The Woodland Trust, which aims to plant 50,000,000 new trees by 2025 is determined to see a UK that is rich in native woods and trees.
Its State of the UK’s Woods and Trees report highlighted some stark warnings including: woodland species are in steep decline; and tree disease and pests are causing local extinctions of wildlife species across the UK.
It noted that woodlands are already impacted by climate change – spring now arrives on average 8.4 days earlier than the first part of the 20th century, which can be catastrophic for nature.
Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “The Big Climate Fightback aims to rally the nation to get behind tree planting by finding those underused areas in our communities that could accommodate more trees and make a difference in the fight against climate change and provide havens for wildlife.”
The Woodland Trust offers trees free of charge to schools and community groups.
The deadline to apply for the March tree pack delivery closes on January 4.
The trees will be delivered in November after the second application process.