‘How can we grow new forests if we don’t have enough trees to plant?’

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James Tapper asks, in Today’s Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/31/how-can-we-grow-new-forests-if-we-dont-have-enough-trees-to-plant why govt policy defeats its own objective to plant very large areas of new woodland. First, there aren’t enough trees in trees nurseries (see James Murray White’s blog on this page) and second, govt agencies like Natural England are turning schemes down for sometimes opaque reasons.

At WftT we know about the tree nursery problem, which was why we launched our Nuts for the Trees scheme. We harness the power of thousands of schools, pupils and teachers to replant Britain.

My own scheme (see our Projects page) for 8.500 new trees to create woodland in the North Pennines has been struck down by Natural England on the grounds that trees attract pests which will predate on nearby breeding sites for ground nesting birds. Well, there may be some small truth in the predation – it is by no means clear from empirical research. But there is a greater benefit here, from 6 hectares of new ecology (converted from an ecologically dead, and carbon-deadly, sheep pasture) to a productive woodland with public access and a commitment to education, social integration and all the cultural benefits woodlands provide.

I will be appealing….

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