Hands up! – does anyone have a favourite tree or one that you remember from your childhood? Two that stay in my memory are a big weeping willow in the centre of the roundabout leading to my primary school and a row of silver birch trees at the same school that had grown nearly horizontally due to their exposed position. I admit to barely taking notice of them whilst at the school, it’s only as I’ve got older that now I understand the importance of trees.
Trees play a massive part in our natural world but sadly in the UK only 12% of forests cover our land. It seems that the UK is very behind compared to our European neighbours. In France for instance, forest covers around 29% of their land. We must improve.
Trees play a vital role for wildlife and humans as they remove excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and convert it into oxygen in a process called photosynthesis. They are vital in guaranteeing our atmosphere remains oxygen rich.
Climate change and global warming are linked to increasing levels of CO2. When levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) go up, it creates a greenhouse effect in the atmosphere and when CO2 traps heat from the sun, this creates a warmer climate. As trees specialise in removing CO2 from the atmosphere, it seems that now is the time to plant more trees.
Woods and trees also have a big impact on our mental and physical health. It’s been well documented and researched that trees provide space for people to spend time outdoors and help to shrug off mental fatigue. Trees improve air quality and help to trap harmful pollutants on their leaves and bark.
Farmers also know the benefits of trees. They provide shelter for livestock in cold, windy, and hot conditions. Much the same for humans too.
Plant trees near to water and they will help as flood defences. Rather than rainwater entering a stream or river, a tree’s roots will suck up the extra moisture.
But perhaps most of all, trees are a crucial habitat for our wildlife. Birds nest in their branches, their root systems provide a home for small mammals and many species of insects live on their bark.
The answer is simple – we need to plant more trees.
A challenge that we are taking up with pleasure at our new location in Louth, Lincolnshire. Much of our outside space here has been given back to nature with wildlife ponds and native shrubs. We are designing our gardens with nature in mind and trees will take centre stage.
Making space for nature is our top priority and our vision is, in years to come, to see the saplings we plant today become the majestic trees of tomorrow.
Written by Angela