If you have watched the recent series on BBC1 “Wild Isles” or the extra episode on Iplayer “Saving our wild isles’ both narrated by the wonderful Sir David Attenborough, one thing is clear we don’t have enough trees in the UK.
Tress make a great place to explore when hiking, great cover when camping to block the wind and a great place to see wildlife.
In fact we used to be a country full of trees and woods, but now we barely have any. In fact only 13% of the UK is covered by woodland – one of the lowest figures in Europe – and half of this is non-native plantations, which aren’t as beneficial for wildlife. Sadly, just 2.5% of our wild isles is precious ancient woodland.
So what can we all do?
Firstly, we still have time to act and every single person can make a difference.
The biggest thing we can do is to stop destroying ancient trees, like this case in Wellingborough where we took down trees which are over 300 years old and will have had centuries of ecosystems dependent on them and while the planners say they will plant new trees, there are many problems with these, they tend to always be single type trees in unnatural ways, they don’t have the eco systems in place and these take decades to create and finally a lot of them don’t survive. In fact over half a million trees planted by Highways England did not survive in one project alone.
But there is good news.
Two new projects have recently been announced to create new woodlands, using native species. Sky news was reporting that their are plans to create Englands largest native woodland as well as in the Heart of England forest over 100k trees were planted this winter plus many other project across our great isles. However these are big projects, theres things much closer to home you can do.
Last Autumn we grabbed a bunch of acorns and conkers and after putting them in some water to see which floated (you want the ones that sink) and we planted them in some pots and left over the winter. Our success rate wasn’t as good as the average, I’ve been told it should be around 50% but we got around 20%. We ended up with 6 Horse chestnuts and one oak tree which has been planted locally. In fact a local chairperson on a local park has already been in touch and said any grown this year they will take next year. So why not give it a go this autumn, go around and grab some acorns or conkers and give it ago yourself.
But in the meantime there is plenty which you can do, shop with retailers which have care about the environment. There are many outdoor retailers that do their part, The Expert Camper plants a tree for every order and even plants a second for reviews left. It’s not just outdoor brands that are trying to make a difference, brands like Victoria Plum who if you allow them to deliver on the most efficient day they will also plant a tree. So double benefit, their delivery service uses less fuel and a tree is planted.
As more companies start to look for ways they can help the environment, as customers we need to start shopping with them – that way it will force other companies to follow suit.
There is a lot you can do as an individual to make changes, whether you grow trees yourself, donate to bigger projects or change your shopping habits and be more green. These little changes will mean we can restore woodlands back across our great country and offer a place for kids to explore for generations to come, homes for wildlife to flourish and to capture CO2 we are pumping into the environment.