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Creating new woodlands and safeguarding existing ones in our area.

The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Tree Drought

Liverpool Tree Care has published “The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Tree Drought“, and you can read it here.

The guide explains in detail how tree drought occurs and then lists four practical steps you can take to reduce the risk of its happening.



The website has other useful features, such as a focus on Horse Chestnut Bleeding Canker.

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Local ecosystem service maps

Last Wednesday, the West of England Nature Partnership (WENP) unveiled a series of maps that show the most important environmental areas in the West of England.

The maps illustrate how green space is vital for better water quality, local flood protection and pollination, and the maps are designed to inform local decision making and help ensure that the West of England remains green and nature-rich place to live and visit.

The maps, known as ‘ecosystem service maps’ are the first time that nature’s services have been mapped and analysed in the West of England. Ecosystem services are the benefits that people get from nature, such as composting, air and water cleaning services, as well as for recreation opportunities.

The maps were created using over 200 datasets and show where the nature is working to support our economy and society.

If you click here, you can see the WENP website, but if you click here, you get to maps of the woodland network showing the best areas of woodland in the Forest of Avon Trust area, as well as the land which connects them, allowing wildlife to move.

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Choosing trees with climate change in mind

The RHS has a web advice page devoted to Trees for Climate Change.  Ît begins …

“Trees are potentially long-lived and it is highly likely that they will face a significantly different climate when mature.  Gardeners are concerned that they choose trees that can withstand whatever changes climate change brings about.”

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1500 more trees on Bedminster Down

This picture shows staff from Bristol’s ‘Bristol Hotel’ enjoying a well-earned break from planting 1500 trees at Colliter’s Wood on Bedminster Down.

They joined volunteers from UWE to do this, with the help of Alun Griffiths contractors and North Somerset Council.

The Trust also worked with volunteers to plant a woodland and a hedge at Stockwood Open Space as part of Bristol City Council’s 1 Tree per Child project; and [ii] with South Gloucestershire Council to agree street tree planting in Staple Hill and elsewhere.


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Trees offer a great return on investment

View up into tree canopyMore evidence about the (really) positive role of trees. Government agency Natural England has published a report about the benefits of investing in the natural environment (MEBEI2). The report sets out evidence from a number of studies into the effects of natural infrastructure on health, wellbeing, work, productivity and climate change.

The importance of trees and woodlands, particularly in urban areas, was highlighted throughout the report. Some key points are:

  • “Trees and plants can reduce the need for heating and cooling of buildings, and therefore lower energy costs.
  • “Urban centres in particular may in future suffer from dangerous heat and air pollution. Some of the impact may be reduced by investment in the natural environment (particularly trees).
  • “By increasing infiltration rates in forest soils, trees can have significant impacts on flooding, modelling since the O’Connell review in Pontebren in Wales suggests that in this context, a shelterbelt at right angles to the slope could reduce field scale flood peaks by 40%.
  • “Urban forests intercept rain water and reduce peak run off… Test plots in Manchester demonstrated that over a year, the addition of a street tree could reduce stormwater runoff by between 50% and 62% in a 9 square metre area, compared with asphalt alone.
  • “Trees can contribute to greater hydraulic roughness of floodplains, slowing water flow. Modelling around the River Parrett… found that floodplain woodland could slow water velocity within the woodland, increasing the water level by up to 270mm and increasing flood storage by 71%.
  • “Green infrastructure makes a number of important contributions to local climate regulation… A single large tree can transpire 450 litres of water in a day which uses 1000 mega joules of heat energy, making urban trees an effective way to reduce urban temperature.
  • “Modelling of the impact of trees on a two-storey office building in Scotland found that using trees as a shelterbelt could potentially reduce office heating energy use by 3.64 kilowatts per square metre of floor area (18.1 percent of total heating energy use)… from October to April.
  • “Surveys across 26 different-sized cities in the USA found that shoppers reported being willing to travel further to visit, stay longer once there, and more frequently visit, business districts with trees.”

Read the full report on the Natural England website. Also, don’t forget what you can do locally by supporting the Forest of Avon Trust to get more trees planted and more woodland managed. Details of the great role that North Somerset’s trees are playing in locking up pollution to be blogged soon.

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North Somerset’s Trees Remove £1.7 Million of Pollutants/ Year

Through 2013 the Trust worked with a group of committed volunteer Tree Wardens in North Somerset to survey nearly 200 sites across the District to collect information on any trees present. This information, along with climatic data for the survey period, has now been processed using the US Forestry Service’s iTree model.

The results graphically set out the invaluable pollution management services that North Somerset’s trees provide. They also demonstrate the huge contribution that volunteers can make and this project is the first to use volunteers to collect information in the UK.

In North Somerset, tree cover removes harmful pollutants (CO, NO2, O3, PM10, PM2.5, SO2), with an annual average value of £1,703,648.30.  This is another compelling reason why we need to look after our existing trees and plant more of them.

The iTree model can be applied at a variety of scales ranging from a local authority to a Parish or Ward, or a local park/ green space. The Trust can provide a free introductory meeting, or a detailed briefing for £125. Details of these and other services are here: iTree Flyer Text_1.

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Why We Still Need a Community Forest

Street and garden trees integrate into woodlands

Street and garden trees integrate with existing woodland, grading to the Cotswold edge. Access links, play areas and open conservation sites extend through this. Farms and woodlands provide food and services for the urban market, with the ‘urban forest’ having the structure to accommodate any permitted development.

I worked for the first Community Forest: the Great North Forest from its beginning in 1990 and have worked in Community Forestry since. I remain strongly of the view that a shared, progressive and long- term strategy for the countryside around England’s largest urban areas is essential. This need not be prescriptive, but should be about a common will to spend time on improving the landscape and functionality of an area, in partnership with landowners, communities and many others.

The Forest of Avon Partnership ended in 2009 having achieved a great deal. Whilst 17 years is long-term in British planning terms, this charity was established to keep the momentum going. It is really heartening to hear Bristol Mayor: George Ferguson, refer to the need for more tree planting (one of our objectives) and cross boundary working.

If you want to help keep the Forest of Avon Community Forest vision and delivery going, email me here with your ideas and/or join us as a Friend (£3/ month).

Jon Clark.

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Independent Panel on Forestry Report

On 4 July 2012 the Independent Panel on Forestry published its Final Report. The Panel’s chair, the Right Reverend Bishop James Jones said:

“The Panel’s work over the last year has shown that our woodlands, managed sustainably, can offer solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing society today. We have consulted widely, visited woods and forests around the country and read over 42,000 submissions.

There is untapped potential within England’s woodlands to create jobs, to sustain skills and livelihoods, to improve the health and wellbeing of people and to provide better and more connected places for nature.

Government investment is now needed to kick start these changes which will repay itself many times over in terms of public benefit”

More »

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Public Forest Estate Update

Trust Directors at their recent AGM resolved that the Trust should pursue being gifted appropriate areas of woodland, where these were deemed to be surplus to the public forest estate. The Trust would also continue to seek to influence the considerations of the expert panel on the future forestry policy, including through the national programme of Community Forests.

The Forest of Avon Trust is also actively working with woodland owners across Bristol & the West to provide advice on grants to help them to continue to provide/ enhance public access and improve the biodiversity of their woodlands. To date, this has been funded by the Forestry Commission and is practically addressing both the needs of owners and the desire for people to continue to visit and enjoy local woodlands.

To help us continue this work, please join us as a Friend.

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1,500 Free Trees for Local Communities

The Trust has provided advice and over 1,500 free trees and shrubs for planting by communities across Bristol & the West this winter. These have been planted in schemes in Montpelier and Weston and also a project in Keynsham.

Free Trees are funded through business donations,  Text a Tree and through the Friend’s scheme. Free trees are a great way to improve areas for now and the future and mobilise local community action.

We intend to expand the Free Trees scheme in the winter of 2011/ 12, so please join us as a Friend, business sponsor or send us a text.

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