As we accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis, we must also confront the ecological crisis which is decimating wildlife around the globe and has seen around two fifths of UK species decline over the last few decades. As the world has witnessed wildfires affecting huge expanses of Australia’s forests, we have seen how wildlife is struggling in a hotter world. With a Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference in Beijing in December that will set targets for natures recovery, 2020 should be a super year for both climate and wildlife.
Expanding our woodlands and tree cover across our landscapes is an action we can take now. The targets Government have set for tree planting represent a step-change in rates of woodland expansion, whilst others have recommended going even higher to get to net zero emissions in the shortest time possible. Done well, an enhanced network of wooded and other habitats could help us to tackle climate change, restore and reconnect ecosystems and provide a wide range of other benefits to society, such as healthy places to live and visit, clean water and flood protection. Done badly, trees can be part of the problem, as we witnessed back in the 1970s and 1980s when large expanses of carbon-rich blanket bog were damaged as the land use was changed to commercial forestry.
Wildlife and Countryside Link welcomes the spirit of positive action heading into global climate negotiations, so we have set out to provide a set of principles for woodland and tree cover expansion in England that will help to achieve net zero and nature’s recovery. We’ve pulled out the headline points below.
As the UK sets out to demonstrate a way forward through the climate and ecological emergency, we hope that through our role as the largest environmental and wildlife coalition in England, these principles will make a positive contribution to unlocking woodland and tree cover expansion in England, and help to provide a way forward that works for all.
Neil Douglas, Senior Policy Officer, RSPB
The opinions expressed in this blog are the author's and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.
Latest Blog Posts