The United Kingdom to Plant More than 50 Million Trees


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Described as a “vast ribbon of woodland cover” by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, the United Kingdom has announced to plan more than 50 million trees across major swaths ofEngland. The 120-project, called “Northern Forest,” would cover around 62,000 acres, would follow the M62 motorway Liverpool to Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Chester, and Haul, stated

As the Northern Forest will contain 50 million new trees, not only will the forest repopulated one of the least wooded parts of the country with local, mainly broadleaf trees, but it will also provide a band of newly greened landscape isolated from many big cities near it, reported The forest will range from the tip of northern Maine to the Adirondacks in New York, stated

As the project itself sounds wonderful, it goes to show how badly the UK’s island needs it. England contains one of Europe’s lowest proportions of woodland: just 13 percent. No one expects a populous, heavily developed country like the UK to reach high levels such as Finland, which is at over 73 percent woodland, which is Europe’s “leafiest” country by far, stated The UK is far behind its more comparable neighboring countries such as Belgium (22.6 percent woodland) and France (31 percent), making the UK look bare and patchy by comparison, explained

The massive project which was already in progress was set in motion 28 years ago by the British reforestation and as of 2016, 8.5 million trees have been planted, representing 20 percent of the designated area. The plan is to cover a third of this area with woods arranged in a jigsaw puzzle layout, stated

Although this project may seem exciting to many people, there are also those who aren’t as interested about it as well. For example, a Friends of Earth spokesman criticized the British government for making plants to plant a huge forest while agreeing to the destruction of ancient woodlands at the same time, reported

“It is a supreme irony that tree planters will have to get funding from HS2, which threatens 35 ancient woodlands north of Birmingham,” Paul de Zylva from Friends of Earth, reported BBC News.

“You simply can’t compare the biodiversity value of new sticks in the ground with ancient forest,” he added.

There is still another problem. Climate change may drastically affect the forest composition in the Northern Forest as some species are no longer able to survive in the new climatic conditions. This means that opportunities for the forests to help address climate change through carbon sequestration will be lost as the forests aren’t sustainably managed, reported