Following a meeting between the Chief Executives of the two organisations, an agreement has been formed that will see DE and the Woodland Trust working together to boost the UK’s woodland cover.
A three month study will begin in June to identify woodland creation opportunities on the MOD estate. It will be led by DE’s Regional Foresters, supported by a number of Woodland Trust staff.
The Woodland Trust is one of the UK’s principal landowners and the leading woodland conservation and creation organisation. It strives to design, plant and maintain native woodlands for the benefit of local communities and wildlife. For the MOD, the development of woodland on its estate also has operational benefits because it offers an effective environment for military training.
The role that woodland plays in mitigating the effects of climate change and providing renewable energy is vital. Recent reports by independent scientists have called for a major increase in trees and woodland areas to counter the effects of climate change and move the country into a low carbon society.
The UK currently has the lowest amount of wooded areas in Europe and the Government’s directive ‘tree planting sooner, rather than later’ advocates tree planting and aims to dramatically alter how future UK landscapes look.
The partnership between DE and the Woodland Trust demonstrates that the MOD is proactively working to meet the Government’s aspirations for woodland creation.
Jon Watson, a DE Senior Estates Surveyor (Forestry), said:
Top of our priority list is always, of course, military training but allied to that is the social, community and environmental benefits that forestry brings.
This study is very much the first phase in what we are confident will be a very exciting time for everyone who has a passion for tree planting and this is why it is a real boon to be working with people like the Woodland Trust.
Hamish Thomson, a Woodland Trust Woodland Creation Adviser, said:
The Woodland Trust’s vision is for the UK to be rich in native woods and trees that are enjoyed and valued by everyone.
Woodland and trees deliver a host of benefits, enhancing the landscape and improving the environment for people and wildlife, absorbing and storing carbon, sheltering crops and buildings as well as providing a source of wood fuel and timber.
That is why we want to see a doubling of native tree cover in the UK. I am really excited about the prospect of working with Defence Estates to identify opportunities where we can make a significant contribution towards our ambitious target of doubling native tree cover.