English tree cover could be tripled across the country: Existing tree cover across England could be tripled as there is enough suitable land.
Friends of the Earth has made the suggestion, unpublished Forestry Commission data has been analysed and they have found there is sufficient tree-suitable land for an additional 3.2 million hectares of woods in addition to existing woodland – covering this additional land would take England’s tree cover from its current level of 10% of woodland to 35%.
This level of new planting could be achieved without impacting on other priority habitats such as peat bogs and species-rich grassland found the green group and notes the finding follows the recent England Tree Strategy by the government, which it states “failed to commit to any tree planting target for England”.
National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have in many cases “been stripped of forests” it also highlights and says they should be allowed to naturally regenerate with vegetation – these statistics do not cover these areas and as a result have not been taken into account and if opened up for planting, would see tree cover increase even further.
Trees Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, Guy Shrubsole said: “Restoring forests in England has huge potential for fighting the climate and nature crisis. This data, which the government seems to ignore, shows how much land there is for this – all without impacting pre-existing key habitats.
“But ministers are still failing to grow enough trees, and even failed to set a target in the recent England Tree Strategy. This must change. The climate crisis is only going to get more dire if proper action isn’t taken so it’s time for the government to set out a plan for at least doubling tree cover, alongside huge cuts in emissions in areas such as transport.”
English tree cover could be tripled across the country