The Woodland Trust has published a landmark report on how the UK’s woodlands are faring. It’s mixed news. Woodland cover is slowly expanding, but at a much slower rate than it was twenty years ago and not nearly fast enough to meet climate change and environmental targets. The worse news is that the condition of existing British woods is in serious decline. Condition is measured by a number of factors, including biodiversity, access to people and biological and developmental threats. It makes sobering reading, especially when one considers that all the factors involved in protecting, enhancing and expanding woodland cover are well known; and the solutions are needed urgently.
The report can be found and downloaded here: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/media/49523/state-of-the-uks-woods-and-trees-2021-the-woodland-trust.pdf.
There is some irony here. The Woodland Trust does not, in this report, say anything (so far as I can see on first reading) about its own woods – and it is a major woodland owner. The report says very little about domestic woods being productive of timber (reducing imports, with all their environmental consequences), charcoal, craft goods and firewood. The Trust, so far as I am aware, produces very little from its woods, despite the very well known connection between sympathetic, sustainable woodland management and biodiversity. It’s a bit odd… but the report is, nevertheless, a welcome benchmark, if only all the interested parties – landowners, Defra, Natural England etc, would act on it.