COP26 sees countries pledge global declaration on forests – but what does this mean to the UK? - Woodland Trust

The UK is part of a new global declaration on forests announced at COP26. But what does this pledge mean in terms of action on the loss of woods and trees here in the UK?

Countries have pledged to end deforestation by 2030 and while the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity supports this, it warns global action must begin at home – right now.

In the last few days, young people representing several national bodies – including the Woodland Trust, Raleigh International and Students for Trees - sent a powerful message to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It came with a plea: “we are doing everything we can to limit warming below 1.5°C to protect our future. But we can only do so much – we need our leaders to do more.” Young people will also be planting trees on Saturday at the site of the new Young People’s Forest. Read the full letter here.

As Adam Cormack, head of campaigning at the Woodland Trust points out - the UK has one of lowest levels of tree cover in Europe at 13% and globally ranks 136th out of 189 countries – measured by the area of tree cover.

He said: “Over thousands of years the UK has been deforested by successive governments. Fragments remain of the ancient woodland that once covered much of the UK and trees outside woods have diminished considerably. Our Woodland Trust’s State of Woods and Trees report shows that tree cover in the UK is slowly increasing after a very long-term trend of decline. The felling of whole forests rarely happens in the UK other than for the purposes of producing timber (which we need). There are some exceptions – there are areas of ancient woodland that have been cleared to make way for HS2 and roads and other national infrastructure projects. Improvements to planning rules have reduced woodland loss, but woodland wildlife is still declining and communities are still losing valuable trees they care about."

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Posted On: 04/11/2021

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