Tag Archives: Safeguarding our trees

Changes to planning policy

The woodland Trust has highlighted a number of issues in the current planning policy white paper.

The Trust says:

“Our ancient woods and trees are exceptional habitats. Yet currently, they are not effectively protected from development.  The new Housing White Paper – called ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ – sets out the Government’s aims to help reform the housing market and increase the supply of new homes in England. It includes the very welcome intention to improve the protection given to ancient woods and trees, by adding them to a list of the nation’s assets that should be explicitly protected from development.  This is an important step towards stronger protection. But it will only make an impact if the specific planning policy relating to ancient woodland is updated too.

The Trust says that the proposals in the Housing White Paper haven’t just come out of nowhere; rather, they’re the result of years of campaigning by thousands of our supporters.  The website has an informative timeline infographic that shows ups and downs (wins and losses) over recent years.

The Trust says that the changes in the White Paper will lead to amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework, which sets out planning policy in England, and asks us to help ensure those changes lead to effective protection for ancient woods and trees.  A public consultation closed on May 2nd.

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The Tree Charter Principles

The 6th of November 2017 is the 800th anniversary of the influential 1217 Charter of the Forest.  To mark this, the Woodland Trust is launching the Charter for Trees, Woods and People.  It says that the people of the UK have a right to the benefits brought by trees and woods, and that the new charter will recognise, celebrate and protect this right.  We can all be a part of this historic moment by signing the Charter to show your support for its principles.  The Trust will plant a tree in the UK for everyone who signs up.

The 10 principles are:

Thriving habitats for diverse species

Urban and rural landscapes should have a rich diversity of trees, hedges and woods to provide homes, food and safe routes for our native wildlife. We want to make sure future generations can enjoy the animals, birds, insects, plants and fungi that depend upon diverse habitats.

Planting for the future

As the population of the UK expands, we need more forests, woods, street trees, hedges and individual trees across the landscape. We want all planting to be environmentally and economically sustainable with the future needs of local people and wildlife in mind. We need to use more timber in construction to build better quality homes faster and with a lower carbon footprint.

Celebrating the cultural impact of trees

Trees, woods and forests have shaped who we are. They are woven into our art, literature, folklore, place names and traditions. It’s our responsibility to preserve and nurture this rich heritage for future generations.

A thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK

We want forestry in the UK to be more visible, understood and supported so that it can achieve its huge potential and provide jobs, forest products, environmental benefits and economic opportunities for all.

Careers in woodland management, arboriculture and the timber supply chain should be attractive choices and provide development opportunities for individuals, communities and businesses.

Better protection for important trees and woods

Ancient woodland covers just 2% of the UK and there are currently more than 700 individual woods under threat from planning applications because sufficient protection is not in place.

We want stronger legal protection for trees and woods that have special cultural, scientific or historic significance to prevent the loss of precious and irreplaceable ecosystems and living monuments.

Enhancing new developments with trees

We want new residential areas and developments to be balanced with green infrastructure, making space for trees. Planning regulations should support the inclusion of trees as natural solutions to drainage, cooling, air quality and water purification. Long term management should also be considered from the beginning to allow trees to mature safely in urban spaces.

Understanding and using the natural health benefits of trees

Having trees nearby leads to improved childhood fitness, and evidence shows that people living in areas with high levels of greenery are 40% less likely to be overweight or obese. We believe that spending time among trees should be promoted as an essential part of a healthy physical and mental lifestyle and a key element of healthcare delivery.

Access to trees for everyone

Everyone should have access to trees irrespective of age, economic status, ethnicity or disability. Communities can be brought together in enjoying, celebrating and caring for the trees and woods in their neighbourhoods. Schoolchildren should be introduced to trees for learning, play and future careers.

Addressing threats to woods and trees through good management

Good management of our woods and trees is essential to ensure healthy habitats and economic sustainability. We believe that more woods should be better managed and woodland plans should aim for long term sustainability and be based upon evidence of threats and the latest projections of climate change. Ongoing research into the causes of threats and solutions should be better promoted.

Strengthening landscapes with woods and trees

Trees and woods capture carbon, lower flood risk, and supply us with timber, clean air, clean water, shade, shelter, recreation opportunities and homes for wildlife. We believe that the government must adopt policies and encourage new markets which reflect the value of these ecosystem services instead of taking them for granted.

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Latest Charity News

Just click this link: http://createsend.com/t/r-421E66A7DAADEA1A2540EF23F30FEDED

 

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Forest of Avon Veteran Tree Project

Field trees Bitton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The charity has long been convinced of the importance of field trees to landscape character, biodiversity and to local culture.

Through generous grant funding from The Mercers’ Company, we are launching the Forest of Avon Veteran Tree project, initially focusing on North Somerset and Bath & NE Somerset.

Over the next 18 months we will work with a wide range of partners to record veteran trees, candidate veteran trees (and where different) significant landscape trees in fields and woodlands. Anna Brunton, who will lead on the project, will submit details of unrecorded veteran trees to the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt website, as well as training Tree Wardens and other volunteers to record significant trees.

Anna will also work with farmers and landowners to provide advice on tree conservation and grants. If funding can be found, we hope to deliver a further phase of the project working in South Gloucestershire.

To find out more about the project and how you can get involved, please email Anna or call (0117) 963 3383. We will also Tweet regularly about progress.

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Forest Research update

You can read some of the latest news from Forest Research here:

If you would like to receive the Forest Research e-newsletter, you can subscribe online or send your contact details to: newsletter@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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Outbreak of Sweet Chestnut Blight in the South West

We have received news from the Forestry Commission about an outbreak of Sweet Chestnut blight in the South West with notification of four 5km zones that are subject to movement restrictions.

Sweet chestnut blight is caused by a fungus called Cryphonectria parasitica, which gets into the trees through wounds or graft sites. Although oak trees suffer very little damage if they are infected by the fungus, they can spread it, so restrictions on movements of oak material are also required as a precaution.

Sweet chestnut blight was found in Devon in December 2016, initially south of Exeter. The Forestry Commission have now identified another zone in Devon and one in Dorset where restrictions are required.

Read more about how the Forestry Commission are managing the outbreak here: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/chestnutblight#distribution

Further information and a symptoms factsheet and pest alert are also available  to help you know what to look for when inspecting your trees.

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Problems of the Plane Tree

The Arboricultural Association website has a link to a story in the Telegraph about problems with the Plane tree across parts of the continent.  The article says that it’s only a matter of time before plane tree wilt (canker stain) reaches Britain.  The disease is currently spreading north through France and is reported to have reached Paris.  It has already wrecked parts of the Canal du Midi in southern France.

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What are your elms like this summer?

It seems to have been a bad summer for the elm across southern England.  Wherever there is elm, there are the tell-tale signs of attack by the elm bark beetle with shriveled brown leaves and bent-over branches standing out against the green hedge background.  From being green and healthy-looking in May and June, during July and August the elm gradually fell victim to the fungus the beetle carries.

To try to stop the fungus spreading, the tree blocks the vessels within the wood that carry water and nutrient, causing tissues to die.  So, just when the elm was fighting back, it’s had another knock, and the cycle of attack – recovery – attack – recovery … continues.  Curiously, however, as Mark Cocker has pointed out in his Spectator review of Fiona Stafford’s book: The Long, Long Life of Trees, this is not so much a story of decline, as one of survival.  Thankfully, we have not seen the last of the elm, although the industrial use of elm is not what it was at its height.  Elm wood is strong, durable and resistant to water.  Traditionally it was used to make furniture, floorboards, boats, wheel hubs, water pipes, troughs, coffins and lavatory seats.  Odd then, perhaps, that it has a reputation for not generating much heat as this old rhyme reminds us:

Apple wood will scent your room,
with incense-like perfume;
Oak and maple, if dry and old,
keep away the winter’s cold;
Ash wood wet or ash wood dry,
a king will warm his slippers by; but
Elm burns like the graveyard mould,
even the very flames are cold!

 

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Droughts across Europe affect British trees the most

Environmental scientists from the University of Stirling have found beech forests across western Europe are increasingly at risk from drought – with areas of southern England worst affected.  In a new €1.4 million study, part-funded by NERC, researchers examined tree ring data from across Western Europe to help uncover the extent to which the growth of beech forests is being impacted by changes in climate.

Results published in Global Change Biology show beech trees located at the centre of the region where the species grows, in this case southern England, were least resistant to drought compared to forests located elsewhere in Europe.

Alistair Jump, Professor of Plant Ecology at the University and lead author, said:

“Beech trees across Europe are extremely vulnerable to the effects of drought. These long dry spells cause sudden and widespread reduced growth within the species.  We might expect beech forests in hotter and drier regions of Europe, such as southern France and Spain, to be most at risk. However, we have found that the south of the UK – the very centre of the area where the species grows – is most badly affected.”

The research also revealed that the damage inflicted on beech trees during the record-breaking hot summer of 1967 has impacted forests throughout the UK.  Professor Jump continued:

“We previously found that the so-called Great Drought of 1976 continues to impact forest found in South Wales.  Many beech trees were killed, while survivors often experience reduced growth now 40 years on.  We now understand this extreme event had a big effect on tree growth right across the country.  As our climate continues to warm, droughts will become more frequent and more extreme.  Beech forests across Europe will be hit increasingly hard, with a high risk of widespread mortality when the next big dry spell hits – particularly in southern parts of the UK.  These trees at the centre of the region where the species grows are more vulnerable to our changing climate than we previously realised and as a result, I would expect to see long-lasting changes to the makeup of our woodlands.  We know the effects of the 1967 drought have lasted to the present day and expect that future changes to our forests may be sudden and put many of our most iconic beech woods at significant risk.”

 Note – The study ‘Global Change Biology “Highest drought sensitivity and lowest resistance to growth suppression is found in the range core of the tree Fagus sylvatica L. not the equatorial range edge” will be published in Global Change Biology and will be found in full here.

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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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