Tree Planting in Wales
We have been going on about trees in recent issues, firstly how good they are for our physical and mental well-being, but equally, how many are being cut down and how few planted. A few years ago a UK Government think tank set a reasonable target of planting 21,600 hectares across the UK each year. So, how well are they (or we?) doing. In 2013/14 they achieved 59% of their target – not too bad a start. But in 2014/15 only 48% of the target was managed and last year (2015/16) the figure had dropped to 25%. UK tree planting is now at its lowest level for 45 years.
And how are we faring in Wales? With over 8% of the UK's land mass Wales managed 900 hectares in the first year, around 7% of what was planted. By the second year Wales had dropped to 100 hectares, less than 1% of the total and last year it remained at 100 hectares which was actually 1.8% of the total because everywhere else was well down. Put another way Wales's total of 100 hectares last year compares with Scotland's 4,600 hectares of tree planting. Scotland is just under 4 times bigger than Wales but managed 50 times more tree planting. Northern Ireland is two thirds the size of Wales but managed the same level of planting. It can come as little consolation that England proportionately was even worse than Wales and was described as 'appalling' by the conservation director of the Woodland Trust.
Of course virtually anyone can do something about it. You can lobby your elected representatives, join the Woodland Trust or even go and plant a tree. If you have children or grand-children get them involved in the planting. You do not need acres of garden (which you would for the Wellingtonia in the photo) – there are plenty of small trees that will help both mankind and wildlife.