A tree-planting initiative in the UK, the largest of its kind in 50 years, could see some farmland returned to forests in order to meet climate targets.
The plan, which is due to be published by the UK Government this month, will double the planting of woodland within four years to almost 75,000 acres a year, or about 80 million trees. By 2035, this will have to rise again to 143 million new trees a year, covering almost 125,000 acres, to meet carbon emissions targets.
The forthcoming plan for trees and woodland is expected to outline how government will plant new high-quality, well-managed trees and woodlands and improve the condition and resilience of existing ones.
Woodland accounts for 13% of Britain’s surface area, up from 12% in 1998, about half of which consists of oak, beech and ash and half of non-native trees like conifers grown for timber.
According to the Climate Change Committee, the UK must up its tree cover to 18-20% in order to reach net zero by 2050.
The committee has suggested as much as a fifth of agricultural land will need to be repurposed for tree planting, as well as for producing energy crops (for biomass energy production), and peatland restoration.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.