What Exactly is CO₂e?
In practice, there are seven greenhouse gases (GHG) which the Kyoto Protocol identified as contributing to global warming. Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) is the most prevalent, accounting for 80% of GHG emissions.Read more
Aside from the previously discussed benefits of trees as the most effective (and wholly natural) carbon sink available, woodland creation generates a multitude of other ecological, environmental, social and economic benefits:
Woodlands provide essential habitats to a wealth of wildlife, including nesting birds, shade-loving plants (known as sciophytes), and fungi. Tree planting has a central role in our efforts to tackle our biodiversity crisis.
A mature tree captures over 700 gallons of water per year. A recent survey estimated that carefully planted patches of woodland across a river basin can stem the flow velocity in the neighbouring river, when rainfall is high, by almost 50%.
Flood water often contains high levels of phosphorus pollutants and nitrogen. Without trees, that flood water would flow directly into rivers and lakes without being filtered. Trees break the rainfall allowing soil microbes to transform the pollutants.
Wind and rain are the two largest natural forces eroding our soils. Raindrops have the power and momentum to penetrate soil when they hit the ground. If the land is dry, wind can do significant damage. Trees break up droplets of rain and weaken their strength while roots hold the soil together and protect it from the effects of wind.
According to Forest Research:
“Woodlands provide an opportunity to exercise in a calm and restful environment. Exercise in woodlands relieves physical symptoms such as high blood pressure and obesity, as well as mental symptoms of stress and depression.”
Timber has the lowest embodied energy (i.e. energy used in its processing, production, and transport, from tree to consumer use) of any mainstream building material, and significantly less than for steel, concrete, or aluminium.
These wide-ranging advantages of trees means that woodland creation can provide an entirely natural but almost perfectly designed antidote to many of our most serious challenges. We are suffering an unprecedented loss to our biodiversity in the UK. Extreme hydrological events are rising.
According to the Environment Secretary, we are;
“30-40 years from a complete eradication of soil fertility in parts of the UK”.
Finally, we are increasingly in need of a home-grown timber resource to meet the government’s target for new homes.