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The Environment Agency has published a report outlining the role of woodland creation and its influence on water management - Woodland for Water.
The review was undertaken by Forest Research and ADAS and was funded jointly by the Forestry Commission and Environment Agency. Its release is timely, following publication of the Natural Environment White Paper and UK National Ecosystem Assessment earlier in the summer. The evidence presented clearly demonstrates what is meant by ‘ecosystem services’ provided by the natural environment.
The review focuses on native woodland creation, but also looks at the impact of new conifer woodlands and bioenergy plantations in light of climate change and renewable energy policy. It provides an 'evidence-base' for addressing environmental pressures as a result of land management activities. It also considers how woodland measures can help meet Water Framework Directive objectives. It looks at the cost effectiveness of creating new woodland; identifies opportunities where woodland could be targeted within the landscape and the evidence gaps that require further research.
The review is for application in England and Wales but is also very relevant to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
A comprehensive science report, setting out the evidence in detail can be downloaded from the Forest Research website. There is also a methodology identifying where woodland creation could be targeted in the landscape to benefit the fresh water environment.