Voices Wanted for England’s Forests
Following the UK Government’s climb down earlier this year on the consultation to sell-off public forests, the Woodland Trust is calling on the public to lend your voice once again and help protect England’s scarce woodland. If you’re in the UK, you can let the Independent Panel on Forestry know you value forests by putting your comments direct to the panel at woodlandtrust.org.uk/panel.
The forests need you. As the Woodland Trust writes, the UK has just 11.8 per cent woodland cover (of which just 4 per cent is native woodland) compared to the European average of 44 per cent. England has only 8.6 per cent with just 5.8 per cent being native broadleaf. Further, 85 per cent of the UK’s ancient woodland has no effective protective designation.
Ancient woodland accounts for even less of the UK’s land area – just 2.4 per cent. This is land that has been continually wooded since at least 1600, with much of it being forested since the end of the last ice age. These historic forests are home to some 232 species, some with special conservation concerns, as outlined in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Ancient woodland, once destroyed, cannot be recreated with new planting.
England’s forests are not yet safe and now is the time to write why you value your woods and trees.