A recent report from the CCC (Committee on Climate Change), has urged the importance of increasing tree planting in the UK, advising that the governments increase tree planting from 9,000 hectares per year to 20,000ha by 2020, then triple it to 27,000ha by 2030.
This increase in planting, it has been suggested, should also include a shift in land use. The report says that up to 17% of cropland and 30% of grassland could be converted in order to meet the demands of a growing population and to mitigate the effects of the changing climate. This change in land use will also need to include improved forest management, restoration of peatlands, and shifts to low-carbon farming practices, which improve soil and water quality.
Tree cover and planting rates in the UK are frustratingly low. Only 13% of the UK’s total land area is covered in trees, compared to the EU average of 38%, with planting falling far below targets every year. Although the government says that it plans to increase planting rates, these plans have not been funded.
Woodlands, by sequestering carbon, play a vital role in reducing our carbon emissions and improving resilience. Climate scientists have also recently declared in an IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) report, released at the beginning of October, that we have 12 years or less left to act on climate change before we reach a climate emergency. If we are to meet our carbon emission reduction targets, then it is essential that the UK follows and even exceeds the ambitious tree planting rates advised by the CCC, by planting up at least 1.2 million hectares by 2050.
Read more about the report here; https://www.theccc.org.uk/2018/11/15/reforms-must-prepare-the-uk-countryside-for-climate-change-and-ensure-that-our-use-of-land-supports-reduced-emissions/