Seeing the wood for the trees

WRITTEN BY Local Partnerships
POSTED ON 8th January 2021

With the need to sequester carbon and increase biodiversity, tree planting has risen up the agenda for lots of local authorities with many starting to publish ambitious tree strategies setting out the need to plant trees, and establishing targets.

Not all local authorities have the land required to plant the trees identified in their strategies. Where they do, the question about whether this land is in the right location or of the right type must also be satisfied.

If we are to maximise the benefits from the Government’s bid to plant 30,000 Ha of trees a year for the next decade, then careful consideration needs to be given to a wide range of questions. How do we work at a landscape scale to ensure that woodlands join up? How do we manage the inevitable changes to rural lifestyles and incomes and ensure an equitable transition to a different landscape? How much of the new woodland should be commercial forestry to serve our construction industry and reduce the need to import the current 80% of our timber? Do we need to introduce animals, such as beavers, as well as trees if we are to maximise the benefits in some locations?

The case for tree planting is clear, be it for carbon sequestration, biodiversity, emissions avoidance (in construction) or adaptation. The real question is what to plant where, and how to maximise all the co-benefits. Presentations at the recent LGA webinar “Seeing the wood for the trees” showed that this is a large topic that alongside being of great importance to ecologists, has much wider implications for land and property use across the board. Further commentary can be read in the LGA blog of this event.

Where authorities are considering significant tree planting then land suitability should form part of that review, as should consideration of renewable energy generation potential. Local Partnerships helps conduct asset reviews to ensure the best sites are chosen and thus business case viability. For more information about developing your climate response strategy, please contact Jo Wall, or 07770 702 386.

⬆️ Strategic Director Martin Forbes writes for the MJ about levelling up and how to negotiate the challenges ahead. Join members of our bid review team for a webinar on 13 December to look at these issues further. Register here:

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