Latest figures present a marginal enhance in UK tree planting over the previous 12 months, however ranges are still lower than half of the federal government’s goal of planting 30,000ha of new bushes yearly by 2024.
This is regardless of a large push by the federal government to stimulate tree planting, together with the rollout of the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) and Forestry England Woodland Partnership in 2021.
Forest Research has revealed the newest nationwide statistics on woodland which present that within the 12 months to 31 March 2022 the overall space of new planting within the UK was 13,840ha, up on the 13,290ha planted in 2020-21.
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There have been 2,260ha planted in England (16%), 10,480ha in Scotland (76%), 580ha in Wales (4%) and 540ha (4%) in Northern Ireland.
Conifers accounted for 50% of the overall space of new planting.
Scotland main manner
Scottish Forestry mentioned the figures confirmed that Scotland was “punching above its weight” on creating new woodlands, significantly given it was a 12 months when the primary planting season had been affected by winter storms.
Scotland’s general woodland creation goal for 2021-22 was 13,500ha and Scottish Forestry had authorized sufficient new schemes to achieve this degree. But components of the sector needed to divert sources from planting to scrub-up operations after Storm Arwen.
However, Scotland did meet its goal of creating greater than 4,000ha of native woodland, with 4,360ha being achieved.
It additionally mentioned there was “very wholesome demand” for woodland creation and it was already engaged on about 13,000ha value of new initiatives.
But Confor, the commerce physique representing UK forestry and timber companies, mentioned general the figures confirmed there was “zero likelihood” of fulfilling the UK pledge to achieve 30,000ha of new planting by the top of 2024.
It described the planting ranges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as woeful.
“This is a complete coverage failure in each financial and environmental phrases,” mentioned Stuart Goodall, Confor chief government.
“Report after report has proven that elevated tree planting and wooden use is significant to assembly the UK’s internet-zero targets – but this isn’t being translated into bushes within the floor.
“There is at present zero likelihood of assembly planting targets except we see decisive and instant change.
“That means encouraging extra productive forests to be planted, making the method to take action extra simple, and making certain that we develop extra of the wooden that our future low-carbon economic system wants and keep away from spiralling imports in a world the place everybody needs extra wooden.”
Strong EWCO pipeline
The statistics present that in England simply 81ha of new woodland has been planted as a direct end result of the introduction of the EWCO, which was launched in June 2021.
But the Forestry Commission mentioned whereas the EWCO appeared to have funded a comparatively small space through the 2021-22 12 months, the pipeline of functions was robust and there have been additionally some present initiatives which have fallen exterior of reporting deadlines.
“Interest in new planting stays robust, as evidenced by administration data on the amount of functions to the England Woodland Creation grant and Woodland Creation Planning grant.”
Last 12 months, England set its personal goal of planting 7,000ha of new woodland annually by the top of the present parliament.
Wales has a goal of planting not less than 5,000ha/12 months, whereas Northern Ireland is in search of to common 900ha/12 months between 2020 and 2030.