Woodlands worth over £400m million annually in protecting communities from flooding, new research reveals
Trees and woodlands have long been known to play a vital role in flood resilience, but scientists are now able to establish the financial contribution they make in protecting communities from flooding.
New research published today (Friday 13th January) by Forest Research estimates Great Britain’s trees contribute over £400m annually in benefits. The flood regulation service of Great Britain’s trees, forests and woodlands as an annualised central estimate gave annual values of £843 million and £420 million compared to bare soil and grass, respectively. The valuation is based on the role trees, woodlands and forests play in intercepting rainfall, storing water and reducing the potentially devastating surface runoff that causes flooding. Given the increased likelihood and frequency of extreme weather events as a result of climate change, the report highlights how woodland expansion can be a natural, cost-effective method of protecting homes and businesses - now and for the future.
The government is investing a record £5.2 billion over six years in around 2,000 flood and coastal erosion schemes to better protect communities across England, with one in six properties at risk of flooding.
Forests help to reduce flooding in numerous ways, in what is referred to as a ‘sponge effect’. As a result, tree planting can significantly affect the volume, pathway and timing of surface run-off, reducing the risk of downstream flooding. Responsible forestry management practices help to maintain and secure this key environmental service. Further guidance is available in the UK Forestry Standard Practice Guide: ‘Designing and managing forests and woodlands to reduce flood risk’.
Posted On: 13/01/2023