More Trees, More Good
In a call that has relevance to all countries, the Woodland Trust is calling for UK landowners of all kinds to plant native trees to increase the number of places wildlife can thrive. This is part of its ‘More Trees, More Good’ campaign.
Native woodland is one of the richest habitats for wildlife. Within 12 years of planting, the Woodland Trust writes, trees will have become a young flourishing wood which is home to many species. New woodland rapidly attracts wildlife; and butterflies, insects and open-habitat birds are the first to appear. Next come the small mammals and woodland birds, followed by bats and hedgehogs. Soon the whole ecosystem is thriving. Some woodlands even attract endangered species which enjoy the food sources and the protection that trees provide.
Woodland can be created on almost any land but the most benefits come from extending and connecting existing woods and hedges, or creating new habitat and shelter on open land. Planting alongside streams and tracks, widening existing hedges and filling in hard-to-work field corners also offer easy opportunities to give extra space to wildlife. It is ideal to have woodland that offers both a year round food supply and shelter through a mixture of trees and shrubs. Flowering shrubs at woodland edges provide a nectar source for vulnerable bees, as well as providing nest space for birds and shelter for hedgehogs.
Part of the reason for this call is that UK native tree cover is at a low of 4% and thus it is important that new woodland be created to protect and sustain the wildlife. Trees not only enhance the landscape and welcome wildlife; a well designed shelterbelt can protect livestock from the elements and even help homeowners reduce their heating bills, suggests the Woodland Trust.
The Trust has a special team of woodland creation advisers who will give free advice (including cost sharing) to anyone in the UK interested in planting trees and creating woods.