Conservation 21

Natural England’s strategy to protect England’s nature and landscapes – “for people to enjoy and the ecosystem services they provide” – was published late last year, since when there does not seem to have been much comment on it.  You can download it here.

It says that the government’s ambition is for England to be a great place to live, with a healthy natural environment on land and at sea that benefits people and the economy.  The strategy sets out Natural England’s thinking about what we need to do differently and how we need to work with others, to better deliver this shared ambition.  The strategy’s 3 guiding principles are to:

  • create resilient landscapes and seas
  • put people at the heart of the environment
  • grow natural capital

Here’s an extract:

“Conservation 21 represents fundamental change in how our teams will be organised and what they will do. We already organise our local delivery work around the most important landscapes, or focus areas. We will set our objectives in these areas at a level and scale that enables and drives creativity and integration of our delivery work. We will use our regulatory levers more strategically, and therefore more sparingly at the site or scheme level. Our operational principles will mean we start from a position of trust in our partners. Our people will provide expertise and evidence, and rather than focus on enforcement, be skilled in working with partners, operating credibly at a senior level with business and planning sectors.”

The words forest, tree and wood are not mentioned.

 

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A tree city in China

The Independent recently reported the construction of one of the world’s first ‘forest cities’, designed by Stefano Boeri, who also designed two vertical skyscraper ‘forests’.  The city is currently under construction in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province.

Once completed, the new city will house some  30,000 people and will absorb almost 10,000 tons of CO2, 57 tons of pollutants per year and produce approximately 900 tons of oxygen.  The Independent says that the city will achieve all this thanks to roughly a million plants from over 100 species, as well as 40,000 trees being planted in facades over almost every surface imaginable.
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A world tree record

The Independent reported recently that volunteers in India planted more than 66 million trees in just 12 hours.  About 1.5 million people were involved in the campaign, in which saplings were placed along the Narmada river in the state of Madhya Pradesh.  India committed under the Paris Agreement to increasing its forests by five million hectares before 2030 to combat climate change.  Observers from Guinness World Records monitored Sunday’s plantation and are expected to confirm in the coming weeks that the effort set a new record.  The campaign was organised by the Madhya Pradesh government, with 24 districts of the Narmada river basin chosen as planting sites to increase the saplings’ chances of survival.  Volunteers planted more than 20 different species of trees.

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Fruit-full Communities

The Fruit-full Communities project is working with thousands of young people living in or attending YMCA and Foyer centres across England and Wales, helping them gain confidence, learn new horticultural and arboricultural skills and improve their local environment by planting and nurturing orchards.  19 YMCA and Foyer sites accross England will be planting orchards this year.   Click here to learn who they are and what plans they have. To find out more about the Fruit-full Comunities project and see how successful our first year has been please click here.

The Fruit-full Communities project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, is part of a new initiative called Our Bright Future.

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July news update

This is a summary of the work of the Trust over the last three months:

  • Running accredited Outdoor First Aid training courses for Forestry Commission volunteers based at Westonbirt: The National Arboretum. These were very well received and we intend to run more site-based training in the future;
  • Responding to strong interest in our summer training courses. Both the Level 1: Introduction to Forest School Principles and the Level 3: Forest School Leaders’ courses are full and our Outdoor First Aid course only has a couple of places left (at the time of writing!);
  • Running a successful team- building activity for staff of long- term sponsor: Whitehall Printing, to help them celebrate their 40th anniversary;
  • Growing our partnership with Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service to now run 2 wellbeing groups for people with dementia and their carers at Conham River Park and in Kings Weston woods;
  • Working with 8 different secondary schools and taking young people with a range of physical and learning needs to visit a local woodland to learn about the woodland environment and acquire new skills;
  • Running Forest Fridays in collaboration with Bristol Community Rehabilitation Service. This is an 8 week Woodland Wellbeing project for people living with mental health needs and as well as making woodland tools and environmental art, participants have also foraged for and cooked wild ingredients;
  • Visiting 13 schools in Swindon and Bristol & Avon for the Defra- funded Trees for Learning project. This is focused on helping primary-aged children better understand the importance of trees; Working with primary schools in Bristol & Avon to support the uptake of Woodland Trust tree packs as part of their Defra- funded Trees for Schools project;
  • Training 18 volunteers in veteran tree recognition and recording at Ashton Court as part of our Veteran Tree project;
  • Delivering the final training of the OVO Foundation funded Woodland Skills project providing woodland management skills for local groups. 12 people got actively involved in charcoal making at Wick Golden Valley Local Nature Reserve;
  • Starting work on the Woodlands of Bathscape Report, to inform the full BathscapeLandscape Partnership HLF application; and
  • Continuing to grow our presence on Twitter and Facebook and through posting regular tree and woodland news on our website.
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Is the EU helping halt global deforestation?

Last week’s Guardian has a report saying that “Europe’s contribution to global deforestation may rise by more than a quarter by 2030, despite a pledge to halt such practices by the end of this decade.”  The newspaper says that this is what a leaked draft EU analysis says.  The report goes on:

“An estimated 13m hectares (Mha) of the world’s forestland is lost each year, a figure projected to spiral in the next 30 years with the AmazonGreater Mekong and Borneo bearing the brunt of tree clearances.  But despite signing several international pledges to end deforestation by this decade’s end, more than 5Mha of extra forest land will be needed annually by 2030 to meet EU demand for agricultural products, a draft EU feasibility study predicts.”

It’s our consumption of products such as beef, soya and palm oil that might increase our contribution to global deforestation.  Many would say “will” rather than “might”.

 

 

 

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Tree of the Year time again

The Woodland Trust is asking for nominations for Tree of the Year, 2017.  The Trust said:

From beautiful cherry trees to towering elms and magnificent oaks, do you have a tree with an interesting story that is special to you, your friends and family or your community?

Tree of the Year returns for the fourth year and we’re calling for your most beautiful, interesting and quirky trees to be contenders. Is there a tree that everyone climbs as a child, or shelters under in bad weather, perhaps it’s supplied your town with apples for as long as you can remember, or got a gnarly trunk that looks like a face?

Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re offering up to £1000 in tree care awards to the most successful trees. They can be used for arboricultural surveys or other maintenance, interpretation or even to support a community event in celebration of the tree.

Nominations are now open! http://www.woodlandtru.st/f2XPH

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Beech trees are native to Scotland

Beech trees should be considered native to Scotland say researchers at the University of Stirling and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).   The team examined the DNA of more than 800 beech trees at 42 locations across Great Britain and made direct comparisons with trees growing on mainland Europe.

The study which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), shows almost all of the beeches growing in Great Britain the researchers tested, are derived from native populations and, as a result, could not have been planted from abroad.

Professor Alistair Jump, of the University of Stirling’s Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, said:

“The beech tree has been experiencing an identity crisis in Scotland. Evidence shows that the European beech was mainly confined to the south-east of England after the last Ice Age. However, this tree now occurs throughout Scotland and has been considered ‘not native’ by many land managers.  This tree can colonise ancient woodland in Scotland, and is sometimes removed because it poses a threat to the persistence of other native species. Our study shows that beech should be considered native throughout Great Britain, including Scotland.”

Dr Jennifer Sjölund, of SASA, added:

“The beech tree has been planted in Scotland in the past but the planting was from native British stock and, although humans have speeded its northward spread, it would have naturally spread up the length of the country regardless.  Our findings have significant implications on how we define native species and how we consider natural processes when deciding what we base woodland management plans on. It points to a need to look again at the identity and distinctiveness of native Scottish forests, which historically haven’t featured the beech tree.”

The research, entitled Understanding the legacy of widespread population translocations on the post-glacial genetic structure of the European beech, is published in the Journal of Biogeography. 

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Nature Detectives

The Woodland Trust encourages us all to be nature detectives, and has a range of age categories for its activities.

0 to 2 – Explore a new world – sensory boxes  nature crafts  simple spotter sheets.  View 0-2 activities

3 to 5 – Get muddy and run wild – Magic wands  Fairy doors  Mud pies  Scavenger hunts.  View 3-5 activities

6+ – Go on a real adventure – Twilight treks  Blindfold exploring  Wildlife tracking  Dens.  View 6+ activities

 

 

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Woodland Incentives: Please Complete Our 5 Minute Questionnaire

Please take 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire to help us improve the range of advice and incentives we can offer woodland owners, managers and those interested in new planting. Just double click here to download to your computer: Woodland Questionnaire.

Every completed questionnaire received will be numbered in order and then entered in to a draw for a free fruit tree (worth £40); alternatively, we will donate 20 free trees to a local school. Deadline 1200 31st July 2017.

Please email to jonclark@forestofavontrust.org (or send by post) and don’t forget to include an email address and phone number.

Posted in: Future Woods, Latest News, Woodland Management | Tagged , |

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