The Forestry Commission and Natural England have joined forces with more than 100 organisations, representing woodland owners, forestry businesses, conservation and local communities to create a new five-year action plan for trees and woodlands in England.
A press release from the Forestry Commission said that the ultimate goal of the new partnership was to deliver a healthier landscape for wildlife and an increase in people visiting woodlands for leisure and tourism by 2020.
The local environment and local communities will be improved with more, high-quality, wooded greenspace close to where people live and a revival of trees in our streets.
It added that the management of the both small, private woods and large commercial forestry will provide greater use of home-grown wood in construction and woodfuel,
Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Forestry Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said: “There are more than a million hectares of woodland and forest in England today.
“Trees make a big difference to people’s quality of life and wellbeing, improving the places where we live, work and play.
“People need to be able to get involved in planning, managing and looking after their local woodlands and trees, and the plan launched today will help us to make the most of our trees to combat climate change, protect wildlife, and yield other social, economic and environmental benefits.”
Forestry Commission chairman Lord Clark of Windermere added: “These are important and exciting times for trees, woods and forests in England as they face the challenges of climate change while providing a range of benefits to people, wildlife and to our economy.
He went on to say: “This new plan is testament to those people representing landowners, businesses, communities, local councils and government who worked together to secure the future for our trees, woods and forests.”
Sir Martin Doughty, chairman of Natural England, acknowledged the crucial role that trees played in ecological and economic terms, as well as adding to people’s quality of life.
“These benefits are increasingly being recognised, but they can only be secured through careful long term planning and co-ordinated action,” he said.
“Today’s Delivery Plan has been created through working closely with a wide range of organisations and local communities and marks a major step forward in securing a sustainable future for our woodlands.”
Source: Forestry Commission press release