Amid support for the England Trees Action Plan 2021-2024 is a warning from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) that planting millions of trees may not deliver on carbon store promises if there is not a sufficiently skilled and sustainable workforce to manage them for generations to come.
The Plan, published today, comes with a pledge to treble tree planting to approximately 7,000 hectares of woodland per year by the end of this Parliament (May 2024). It is supported by over £500m of the £640m Nature for Climate Fund and is part of the government’s commitment to delivering net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and achieving the goals of its 25 Year Environment Plan.
The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) is the largest and longest established educational charity promoting wise woodland management in England, is a member of the Forestry Skills Forum and has actively contributed throughout the plan’s consultation process.
Royal Forestry Society Chief Executive Christopher Williams says: “We support the principle of right tree, right place for the right reasons described in the plan. To ensure this happens, we need to make sure anyone involved in planting schemes has the required skills and understanding, which the RFS is well-placed to provide. Without this attention to detail, all the benefits of carbon capture and storage and other public benefits from new woodland creation will not be secured. Long-term comprehensive and linked skills and education policies, which go well beyond the term of this Parliament, are needed across all ages. We need to encourage school leavers to consider forestry as a career, to help FE colleges and universities deliver courses that support the foresters, researchers and managers of the future and we need to support apprenticeships into the future.”
Posted on: 18 May 2021