Trees

Lime Walk

We look out on trees from every window of our house: an avenue of lime trees leads up from the road to a path to a farm, fields and woods. At every season it is a beautiful scene. Gladstone used to walk up this Lime Walk from our railway station to visit Lord Brownlow in the great house Berkhamsted Place at the top of the hill where he lived.

On one side of our house are hollies and a yew in which birds often nest. On the back boundary is an Ash tree and beside it, in a neighbour’s garden a great Copper Beech whose leaves turn from one shade of copper to another throughout the seasons before its leaves fall. These trees are hosts to insects, squirrels, pigeons, blackbirds, and thrushes and the occasional owl at night. 

                                       

Copper Beech     

                                                

Ash

Trees are not only beautiful; they restore our wellbeing and nurture our spirits. They provide for us in hundreds of ways. The soil under them is enriched and many species are dependent upon them. Furthermore, look round your home: innumerable parts of your house and objects in it are made of wood. They provide your roof under the tiles, most windows, doors and floors. They provide paper and cardboard and much of the packaging we use. Trees have served us for thousands of years. We created homes from them. We built ships of wood before iron and steel were discovered.

An Oak

Trees are very beautiful at night

Sadly, I often hear that harsh, rasping sound of a saw being used to cut down a tree or cut it back in order to allow more sun into a garden. That is what happened to one side of our lovely Ash. It is in effect half a tree. I felt its pain as it was being cut. Recently a beautiful Cedar of Lebanon was felled.

Trees help prevent climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees provide many benefits, every day. They offer cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities. Woodlands are lovely places in which to walk or sit quietly on a log.

Hardings Wood at bluebell time, near where we live

Despite all these benefits, trees are not always valued and woodland fires rage out of control in the Amazon. The Greenpeace Brazil team witnesses devastating forest fires started deliberately by industrial meat suppliers. This year, by August, Greenpeace had witnessed 20, 473 fires across the area since mid-July. Blazes on indigenous lands were up 78% in some areas since last year.  Yet we know that trees fight climate change and can help solve the climate crisis https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/trees-reforestation-climate-change-crisis/.

The UK has fewer trees than any other European country despite having a mild climate that is ideal for tree growing. The UK government has announced it wants more than 10 million trees to be planted across England and it would create a £60m fund to do so. That includes £10m to plant at least 100,000 trees in towns and cities. The Woodland Trust – the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity – is aiming to plant 64 million trees in the next 10 years https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/we-plant-trees/. And it wants to get more than a million people to pledge to plant a tree in the run-up to a special day of planting across the UK on 30 November.

I have planted a mulberry tree in our garden.

Mulberry Tree

The State of Natural Capital Annual Report 2020

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/858739/ncc-annual-report-2020.pdf argues for a Natural Capital Approach that incorporates the wider benefits of the environment in decision-making instead of over-consuming and under-investing in Natural Capital.

Its key recommendations are:

The UK needs to plant 1.5 billion trees to tackle climate change, government told
  1. Local nature recovery strategies, Nature Recovery Networks, the national food strategy and the National Infrastructure Commission should all be aligned with the National Environmental Plan.
  2. To maintain and create new natural capital assets, sufficient long-team funding will be made available.
  3. Government should fully review the 25 year using the lessons learned to inform effective design of Environmental Land Management schemes and local nature recovery strategies and ensure it does not become another short-term project.
The UK needs to plant 1.5 billion trees to tackle climate change, government told

Woodland Trust director of conservation and external affairs, Abi Bunker, said: “The scale of what needs to be achieved to reach net zero targets is obvious; it will necessitate a three-fold increase on current levels. Let’s not shy away from the truth. It will be a challenge, it will cost money, it will mean tough choices, but the human race is at a crossroads for our environmental future. “To avoid climate breakdown we have to act, that’s the reality we live in, tough choices, big challenge, but we can all rise to meet it head on.”

 So if you wish to help, apart from planting trees, here is what you can do: Become a member of the Woodland Trust. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ , plant trees with your school https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/support-us/act/your-school/plant-trees-with-your-school/ and donate to Plant a Tree – World Land Trust https://www.worldlandtrust.org/appeals/plant-a-tree/ and support Greenpeace https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/.

I am an author, writer and speaker. In normal times, I give participative talks in communities, universities, schools and at conferences. My latest book The 21st Century Revolution – A Call to Greatness was Oxford Alumni Book of the Month for November 2016. Professor Katherine J. Willis, CBE, Principal of St Edmund Hall and Professor of Biodiversity, Department Zoology, University of Oxford said “I am greatly enjoying it; you write beautifully”. I update the book through my Blog https://brucenixon.com/ which includes many other topics.

If you value what you have read, please spread the word.

5 thoughts on “Trees

  1. I have spent a lot of time in heavily forested wilderness areas and love the feeling of trees around me. Thanks for a great article and hopefully you get to see a lot more trees in the near future.

    Like

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