Budget 2020. Promised spending £640 million with a new Nature for Climate fund, supporting woodlands and peat bogs. This should plant around 30,000 hectares of trees (the number CCC says should be planted EACH year - below) and restore 35,000 hectares of peatland over the next five years (that is less than 1/30th of peat affected by human activities - see below). It is expected to increase the rate of tree planting 600%, and should cover an area as big as Birmingham. There will also be a Nature Recovery Network Fund for government to partner with business and communities to protect & restore habitats leading to Natural Environment Impact Fund setting up private companies for investment.
To reverse the loss of wildlife and habitats, a bold new plan by the European Commission (EC) includes planting 3 billion extra trees, dramatically expanding organic farming and fines for missing targets to restore nature.
The biodiversity strategy published May 2020 calls for 30 per cent of Europe’s land and seas to become a protected area by 2030.
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now."Chinese Proverb
Government fails to reach tree planting target -71% short. "The Committee on Climate Change says 1.5bn trees need to be planted by 2050 for the UK to achieve its net-zero carbon target. This is equivalent to an area of 30,000 hectares every year, with 15% of crop land turned to tree-planting and growing plants for fuel.
Only 1,420 hectares (3,507 acres) of trees were planted in England in the year to March 2019, against the government’s target of 5,000 hectares " The total tree cover of the UK is unchanged at 10% in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and 8% in Northern Ireland. CCC it needs to happen quickly. The EU doesn't stop us planting trees.
FloodingNew CEH Report reviews role of trees in flood prevention with a systematic review of the current evidence in order to inform policy and planning decisions, and to identify knowledge gaps and areas for priority research.
In Bittersweet Brexit book Chap 6 'Land' quotes "In the 1990s a group of visionary farmers at Pontbren, Powys in Wales, near the headwaters of the River Severn, realised that the usual hill-farming strategy – loading the land with more sheep, grubbing up the trees and hedges, diggingmore drains – wasn’t working. So they planted shelter belts of trees along the contours, stopped draining the wet land and built ponds instead. A consultant a few years later noticed that water wasn’t flashing off their land, as it was nearby, and set up a research programme." Results in the book!
Tory MP & EX Environment Minister Owen Paterson, former UKIP MEP Roger Helmer and a Question Time audience member are among those blaming February floods on an EU ban on dredging British rivers. An EU Waste Framework Directive introduced in 2000 . While it is UK decision, they say it is severely hindered by EU rules protecting the “ecological health of rivers”. These prohibit dredging if it disturbs the habitats of some protected creatures, but makes clear that exceptions can be made where there is a risk of flooding
Slow the Flow created a pond above Oldroyd that cost around £20,000, and was completed with local labour and expertise and without any disruption to people’s lives, taking around three weeks to complete. It paid for itself preventing damage from Storm Caira 2020.
Plant MoreThree organisations call for ambitious planting plan for trees The CLA, Woodland Trust and Confor say increased tree planting targets should be introduced, “with clear goals for forest cover that reflect the many benefits [trees] can deliver and that address our present unacceptably low level of woodland cover”.
EU help restore Celtic rainforest in Wales Almost £9m is to be spent to protect wet and temperate forests from invasive species. Funding will not be affected by Brexit.
Plant more trees "We are not doing enough; we are importing millions of tonnes of timber.”
Lock CarbonWoodland Trust announce planting 50 million trees in North. "We can lock up over 7 million tonnes of carbon as well as potentially reduce flood risk for 190,000 homes." The government has pledged £5.7m, the Woodland Trust £10m and the rest of the £500 m over the next 25 years still needs to be raised
Tree planting has 'mind boggling potential to tackle climate change. "Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis." The analysis found there are 1.7bn hectares of treeless land on which 1.2tn native tree saplings would naturally grow...they specifically excluded all fields used to grow crops and urban areas from their analysis. But they did include grazing land."
"It is estimated croplands on peat emit a total of 7,600 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per year (kt CO2e yr-1) According to Plester " They occupy about 12% of the UK’s land area and store 5.5bn tonnes of carbon, over half of the entire country’s current carbon storage. Compare that with our forests, which store 150m tonnes of carbon, although forests grow faster, and absorb carbon faster, than peatlands". I must say I need to check these figures. ""There are three main types of peatlands in the UK: blanket bog, raised bog and fenland" according to "Moors for the Future 'Boggy facts & figures' 2019. In the UK it is estimated there is over 3 billion tonnes of carbon stored in the peatlands, equivalent to all carbon stored in the forests in the UK, Germany and France together" . So that is 2.5B down..but what about forest - surely more than 150m? From Forestry Statistics 2018 Chapter 4: UK Forests and Climate Change, I calculated 1B tonnes of carbon in UK forests - 3/4 of which are in the soil."England‟s peatlands cover 11% of its area and are estimated to contain 584 Mt C (Natural England, 2010) Carbon Storage by Habitat NERR. Forests = 13% by area.
Peatland covers around 3 million hectares in this country: 22% of the total peatland area remains in a near-natural condition, comprising undrained bogs and fens 41% of the UK peat area remains under semi-natural peatland vegetation, but has been affected by human activities including drainage, burn-management, livestock grazing and the cutting of peat for fuel 16% is covered by woodland, the majority of which is drained conifer plantation 15% is occupied by agricultural cropland and grassland, mainly in lowland regions of England such as the Fens, Norfolk Broads, Manchester Mosses and Somerset Levels Industrial peat extraction for horticultural use occupies 0.15% of UK peatland, mostly on lowland raised bogs.
France calls for action on deforestation caused by its imports of soy, palm oil, beef, cocoa and wood. They have set themselves the target of ending so-called “embodied deforestation” by 2030. They also call for "the elaboration of an European policy to tackle deforestation and forest degradation by the end of the current legislature (mid-2019)”.
AgroforestryAgroforestry report from Soil Association and Woodland Trust spells out how trees are good for land, air and water.
Try mixing trees with farming more. Agroforestry can deliver productive landscapes that diversify farm businesses, soils that are healthy and don’t get washed downstream and space for wildlife alongside human activity. The historic separation of forestry and farming has led to a void between both sectors in knowledge, funding and advisory services
In the book, I spelled out how trees can benefit soils, reduce flooding and global warming, and could provide healthy foods like nuts and berries. Yet few trees, especially deciduous ones, are being planted The UK has fewer trees than just about any EU country.
Video about Agroforestry by AFINET with EU Horizon funding
What a fabulous walk and talk you had with Sir David Attenborough to demonstrate your love of trees. in the programme Green Planet. You said you want to make a canopy of trees in the world – to create a ‘Commonwealth Canopy’, This "has been proposed by Commonwealth countries wanting to harness their collective expertise and resources to protect the world’s forests". Frank Field claims that he first thought of the idea, but none of the main politicians of all parties were interested."The project, supported so far by more than 40 of the 53 Commonwealth countries, aims to create a global network of protected woodland — from a tiny six-acre site in Antigua and Barbuda to the 6.4 million hectares of the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada." More
Where best to start this? There is a vast acreage of land round here – in the Forest of Bowland – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The thousand of acres of this moorland - left to shoot grouse, could be even more outstanding as a canopy of trees. Instead of barren heather moors, they could go back to what they used to be several hundred years ago - before they were chopped down to make warships and pit props..
These trees would not only be fabulous to look at, but also provide wealth for the future, carbon capture units, build biodiversity and a way to hold water to reduce flooding – all needed round here. Perhaps, with a bit more thought the trees could also produce fruit, nuts and berries – all good sorts of health food, that could really benefit many people in the old mill towns nearby.
A lot of this land belongs to the Duchy of Lancaster - who is you. I thought where better start that Commonwealth Canopy? You own about 3000 acres on that AONB on the Bowland Fells. What a message it would send out to the Commonwealth and the rest of the world! I have worked in 20 Commonwealth countries so know how aware they are of what goes on here.
It was the Duchy of Lancaster who in 1621 (not you then obviously but King James 1) who arranged for nearby land in Slaidburn to be allocated to some of the parishioners - but not anybody who had squatted the land (called 'Assarters'.. Look at the Land). I was to live and farm on two of these plots of land in the 1970s. Each of our two farms had some land by the river rising to land backing on to these moors. We planted about a thousand trees over 40 years ago on one farm to protect the other. You can see it from the sky - what a view the Commonwealth could have of your trees.
PS I thought you may interested to know that Lancashire has about half tree cover of other countries. The Ribble Valley Trust - where your water flows to are trying to plant more trees. I thought the above would help them.