I am supporting calls for use of trees as a policy resource for tackling a range of public concerns including improving air quality and reducing flood risk. We can support the following initiatives:-
- Promote natural flood resistance
There is a need to support the planning system so it works for people and nature. And we shouldn’t stop at protecting our existing green spaces. A stronger, more accountable planning system, with local people at its heart, can deliver housing in the right places, whilst creating and connecting new wildlife sites, woodlands, wetlands and other green spaces. This, in turn, will help provide natural flood defences, to help cope with our changing climate.
- Support strategic deer management
We must protect and restore important habitats in order to foster effective deer management, good water quality, and species reintroduction. Support can be given for the sustainable management of wild deer populations.
- Take action for tree health
The good management of existing woods, orchards and hedges should be encouraged. Developing maintenance of species diversity and the vigorous protection of wild habitats should be prioritised. There is a need to support restrictions in the use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers, and promote research into the biological control of pests.
- Restore damaged woodland
Farmers and landowners should be encouraged to restore woodland and increase tree cover generally. Support is needed for appropriate tree planting or woodland creation from natural regeneration on agricultural and non-agricultural land, including fruit and nut orchards, copses, hedgerows, small farm woods and shade and windbreak trees.
- Expand our woodland
Substantially expanding wooded areas can capture carbon, increase the local energy supply, improve biodiversity, provide wood products for buildings and infrastructure, improve flood management and provide more natural spaces for everybody to enjoy.
Scotland has a low percentage of woodland cover compared with other countries in Europe; only 17% compared to the EU average of 37%. Also, relatively little new forest has been planted over recent decades, and the majority of British conifer forests are due for felling in the next 10-20 years.
Any significant increase in woodland will require careful management and siting to balance land-use needs and to maximise economic, social and environmental benefits. The expansion of woodland should run alongside a significant expansion of the existing Peatland Action Restoration Programme.
- Protect Scotland's most precious woods and trees
Educational policies and information campaigns can increase the protection and promotion of our woods and trees, particularly to our young people and those involved in local enterprise. We can encourage more use of private woodlands and further support the development of community woodlands. Efforts to bring about wider public recognition that woodlands and forests offer important environments for education, recreation, health, and celebration should be supported.
Cherry Blossom in Dowanhill.