Tag Archives: Economic value of trees

New biomass guide

The Forestry Commission has a new guide to the use of biomass for heating.  It begins:

“There are many ways in which community groups can get involved in developing a local woodfuel supply chain.  These pages will guide you through the stages of the supply chain, helping you understand the time, resources, skills and costs involved.  The woodfuel sector is growing in response to positive policy and financial support for the use of wood-fuelled heating systems and bringing woodlands back into sustainable management.

The FC says that sustainable woodfuel supply chains offer a wide range of social, economic and environmental opportunities and benefits including:

  • supporting the local economy
  • improving access to woodland for leisure
  • bringing together local communities
  • creating new skills and jobs
  • enabling carbon savings
  • promoting increased woodland biodiversity
  • supporting climate change mitigation through woodland management.

The Guide has 7 sections:

Posted in: Latest News, Woodland Management | Tagged |

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.

Posted in: Future Woods, Latest News, Safeguarding our Trees | Tagged , , |

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.

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

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.

Posted in: Future Woods, Latest News, Our Projects, Safeguarding our Trees | Tagged , |

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.

Posted in: Forest of Avon, Future Woods, Latest News, Safeguarding our Trees | Tagged , , , , , |

North Somerset Tree Survey

 

Uncommonly known as Araucaria araucana. Clevedon.

 

We have just started a project to quantify the role of trees and shrubs within North Somerset. This will apply i- Tree Eco methodology developed by the U.S. Forestry Service and used in a number of American cities.

The approach is new in the UK and the Trust’s project follows on from a successful project in Torbay. We will differ from this project, as we will work closely with North Somerset’s expanding network of Tree Wardens to collect the data.

The first step is to test the methodology and we have started surveying the first 20 random plots, generated for us by North Somerset Council.

More details to follow. Click here for a link to the Torbay project.

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