Friday, September 04, 2020

Rewilding Britain calls for natural regeneration to be at heart of government tree strategy

The campaign group Rewilding Britain has called on the government to have bigger ambitions and adopt more natural solutions in tackling England's lack of tree cover.

In its response to the government's England Tree Strategy the group says:

With Britain one of Europe’s least wooded countries, the current proposal to increase England’s woodland tree cover from only 10 per cent currently to just 12 per cent by 2050 is woefully inadequate. We urgently need to see an expansion of nature’s recovery across Britain to match the scale of the threats from accelerating climate heating and species extinction.

The group calls on government to commit to doubling woodland cover to at least 26 per cent by 2030 for the benefit of people, nature and climate. Government, it says, should raise and integrate investment in woodland regeneration from public and private financing

Rewilsing Britain urges the government to support natural regeneration as the default approach:

The government’s unambitious plans also focus on manual tree planting as a quick fix. But our recent research shows that allowing natural and assisted regeneration – supported by native tree planting in suitable sites – would be the most effective long-term approach for landscape-scale reforestation.

Allowing trees and shrubs to naturally regrow over much of their former landscapes could massively increase the scale of woodland creation at a fraction of the cost. It would create woodlands better able than plantations to soak up carbon dioxide, support wildlife, and adapt to a changing climate. Management costs, imported tree diseases, and plastic tree guards would all be reduced.

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