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The Forestry Commission is starting its winter tree-planting programme with the delivery of its first batch of trees including 50,000 that are destined for AmpfieId Wood, near Eastleigh, Southampton.
Part of an ongoing native woodland restoration, the replanting is vital to sustainable forestry and in helping to combat climate change.
This first phase of the current programme in the South East, will lead to the planting of more than a quarter of a million trees over the next few months. These new trees will replace those that have been harvested for the production of fencing, pallets, cladding, gates, wood for fuel and high quality timber for furniture and construction.
Nick Hazlitt, beat forester, said:
“Some people are understandably concerned when they see trees being cut down. But it's fine when it's part of a managed program as long as the trees are being replaced. Wood really is a sustainable resource and less energy is needed to make wooden products rather than things made from plastic, concrete or steel, reducing the need to burn fossil fuels.”
The trees to be planted at Ampfield from 21 December will replace conifers planted in the mid 1960s and include Oak, Ash, Cherry and Sweet Chestnut trees. These species will support a greater diversity in wildlife, flora and fauna and will also be more resilient to warmer, drier summers and milder wetter winters.
Nick Hazlitt added:
“Trees we are planting will be around for hundreds of years, not just decades. No one can know exactly what the climate and weather will be in the future, but we plan to make our woodlands as robust and flexible as possible. The Forestry Commission is renowned worldwide for its work in measuring the impact of climate change on our woodland and forests and we are using a wealth of research to help us plan the forests of the future.”
The new trees species being planted at Ampfield include the Sweet Chestnut, which is likely to be favoured by climate change according to Natural England. The other varieties include trees that have been grown from seed collected in France and Germany. There the current climate reflects the conditions that are anticipated in the South East of England in the future.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Forestry Commission’s Forest Research arm played an important role in delivering the recently published first national assessment of UK forestry and climate change report (“Combating Climate Change – A Role for UK Forests”). Prepared by a panel of scientists chaired by Professor Sir David Read, Emeritus Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield and recently Vice-President of the Royal Society, it is believed to be the first national study of its type in the world.
2. The Forestry Commission has helped to more than double woodland cover in the UK since the beginning of the 20th Century.
3. This winter the Forestry Commission is planting over six million trees in England.
4. The Forestry Commission manages over 250,000 hectares (600,000 acres) of woodlands in England. Most of this land is open for public access and the Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in the country. For further information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/southeastengland.
5. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
Nick Hazlitt, Beat Forester, Forestry Commission, tel 01962 795079, mob 07900 137177, email email@example.com