According to the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, The Woodland Trust, native trees are one of the best ways to tackle the climate crisis. The Woodland Trust’s view is that:
- Trees and woods are a valuable carbon store as are the soils upon which they stand
- Trees have the virtue of removing atmospheric carbon dioxide as they grow and so help counter the effects of global warming
- Trees deliver multiple co-benefits relevant to adapting to climate change, such as helping to reduce urban heat island effects and mitigating river and surface flooding, which themselves have a carbon cost
- Trees are a sustainable source of biomass energy
- Both standing and fallen trees are valuable ecological habitats
Trees and woodlands across our region are facing a variety of pressures including tree disease, tree pests, pollution and ash dieback.
Combined with the effects of acute oak decline and pollution this might equate to a hugely worrying total of two million trees disappearing from the landscape of Essex and Suffolk over the next 10 to 15 years.
Planting new trees and hedgerows is therefore vital to replace those trees and hedgerows that we are losing, to promote biodiversity and to help improve resilience to climate change.
In December 2020, the government allocated £3.9 million of new funding to help reach its target of planting 30,000 hectares per year of new trees across the UK by 2025.
What can we do to help in Martlesham?
You may have read in local magazines that, along with many other parish councils, Martlesham has declared a climate emergency and set up a parish council working group, Martlesham Climate Action, to promote and drive new and existing initiatives that focus on ‘reducing our carbon footprint and enhancing biodiversity’.
The Woodland Trust and Suffolk Tree Warden Network have launched several schemes to encourage landowners, individuals, schools and communities to plant trees by offering free and subsidised trees and hedging.
For example, if you have an old or diseased tree, you might consider replacing it with a new one.
Typical varieties include Silver Birch, Oak, Field Maple, Hornbeam, Hazel, Wild Cherry, Crab Apple, Wild Rose, Blackthorn and Hawthorn. The saplings are usually supplied as bare root stock in November or December for planting over the winter.
They are supplied with guards and stakes and planting them is very straightforward (as pictured). They need little attention other than watering occasionally in dry spells until they become established.
The Tree Council is asking young people to become Tree Champions by applying for their school to join the Tree Council’s #ForceForNature.
If you would like to support any of these initiatives, have a look at the following websites or email Martlesham Climate Action at: [email protected]