The Woodland Trust's State of the UK’s Woods and Trees 2021 is the first report of its kind laying out the facts and trends on the current state of the UK's native woods and trees. They created the report to get a better understanding of the current state and realise their vital role in tackling climate change, improving our wellbeing, and recovering nature.
Their analysis identified four significant findings about the state of UK woods and trees.
1. UK Woodland cover is gradually increasing, but woodland wildlife is decreasing The trends for the UKs woods and trees are concerning. The UK’s woodland cover has more than doubled in the last 100 years, but much of this is non-native trees. Existing native woodlands are isolated, in poor ecological condition and there has been a decline in woodland wildlife.
2. UK Woods and trees are vital for a healthy, happy society
They lock up carbon to fight climate change, improve our health, wellbeing and education, reduce pollution and flooding, and support people, wildlife and livestock.
3. UK Woods and trees are subject to a barrage of coinciding threats
Threats range from direct woodland loss to more insidious influences from climate impacts, imported diseases, invasive plants, mammal browsing and air pollutants.
4. Not nearly enough is being done
The report is a loud and clear warning sign that more needs to be done to protect and expand our woods and trees. We urgently need to scale up the many inspiring initiatives to create native woods, put more individual trees back in the landscape, and restore damaged woods.
As a result of these findings, in order to help the UK’s woods, trees, wildlife and people, we recommend the following priority actions.
Expand woodland tree cover
We need to at least quadruple the current rate of woodland creation and increase the proportion of UK-grown native species to help tackle the effects of climate change and give nature a fighting chance of recovery.
Enhance and protect existing woods and trees
Enable native woods and trees to become a source of widespread nature recovery and improve people’s lives.
Improve the evidence
Inventories of ancient woods and trees need to be frequently undertaken as well as regular assessment of important wildlife sites. Data gaps need filling and there needs to be systematic woodland and tree monitoring.
Invest in the future
Time, money, people and innovation are needed to take on the challenge and create opportunities for woods and trees.
You can download and read a full copy of the report at this web page
The report documents the following factors regarding UK Woods and Trees:
condition and wildlife value
the benefits we all gain from them
the threats and pressures they are under
what is being done to help them
what more we need to do.
The data in State of the UK's Woods and Trees draws on multiple sources, including official statistics, published and unpublished reports, academic research, outputs from citizen science projects and trends data from regularly updated datasets