1st December 2019
Politics party pledged trees everywhere in its election campaign. Finally, regular people and charities have come to the field to dig the soil up and bury a shoot. Woodland Trust, the biggest charity for planting trees, has tried to encourage 1 million people last Saturday. Many organisations have joined the cause. Finally millions of trees were planted during the National Tree Week.
Planting trees is easy, the key is looking after them
Guy Shrubsole, from Friends of the Earth, congrats these pledges. Labour promises 2 billion trees by 2040. Shrubsole marked it as the ‘most ambitious’ pledge from a politic party. However, he reminds: «While parties have been racing to make bigger trees pledges it’s crucial to remember that trees will only help fix the climate crisis if emissions cuts happen at the same time».
And the fact is that the UK needs many trees to offset greenhouse gas emissions. The Committee for Climate Change advised doubling the planting rate to meet the carbon zero target by 2050.
According to the Forestry Commission, just 13.1% of the land in the UK is used for woodland. In Europe is 37%, although is not the same ratio in Spain than Germany.
Also, there are differences between the nations in the United Kingdom. In that ranking, Scotland is at the top with 19%, followed by Wales with 15%, and England 10%. Northern Ingland is on the bottom with 8%.
Scientists are working in measures to clean the air. Huge – and expensive machines for filtering the air in a big scale, or methods to capture the Co2 and store it under in the rocks underground. Nevertheless, there is one ancient way of cleaning the air: Trees.
In a study, the North Carolina State University states: «A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old».
ONS stated that vegetation removed an estimated 1,298.9 thousand tonnes of pollutants from the air in 2017.
However, it is worth noting new plant trees do not remove the same amount of pollutants than the old one. It is not fair a 1 to 1 calculation for reforestation.
What’s in the north
Although the Committee for Climate Change advises the government to double the area with trees, It has been quite static since 1998. Friends of the Earth states that the public funding on planting trees has declined overall. In the financial year 2017-18 England, Wales and Scotland invest £56m.
FoE complains the funding system is insufficient and confusing. In England, it was invested £13.5m in 2017-18, 43% less than the previous year.
In the North is scheme The Northern Forest. Several organisations are planting trees from Liverpool in North West to Hull in North East. This includes trees in parks, in private lands and streets; everywhere.
City of Trees is the charity responsible for planting trees in the Greater Manchester area. A spokeswoman said: «City of Trees is planning to plant at least 3 million trees across Greater Manchester. We hope to plant many more depending on land and funding».
Last Saturday hundreds of people went to Bury for planting trees. It was alongside the Woodland Trust camping Big Climate Fightback. In Greater Manchester, there are 8,716 hectares of woodland.
The Green Bee was there and saw these warriors -of all ages- doing their bit for helping the climate.