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Oak Seedling Source: Laura Shewring

The role of woods and trees in the fight against climate change

According to experts, we're on track for an increase of between 3°C and 4°C by 2100. And these are

only global average temperatures. At the poles and over land (where we all live), the increase may

be higher – possibly even double. Once we’ve reached the tipping point we’ll be powerless to

intervene. There will be devastating consequences as temperatures soar. Changes will be irreversible as

ecosystems collapse. Our planet will be unrecognisable.

We need to seriously reduce our emissions, and find a way of reducing the damage already done.

Technology is being explored to remove CO2 – the biggest culprit – from the atmosphere, but they

are expensive, complex and mainly untested. There is a simpler solution – and it’s our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change: trees.

Carbon Capture and Storage

Trees are the ultimate carbon capture and storage machines. Like great carbon sinks, woods and

forests absorb atmospheric carbon and lock it up for centuries. They do this through photosynthesis.

The entire woodland ecosystem plays a huge role in locking up carbon, including the living wood,

roots, leaves, deadwood, surrounding soils and its associated vegetation.

The benefits of trees in the fight against the joint climate and nature emergencies are now well

understood. They lock up carbon, reduce pollution and flooding, and support people, wildlife and

farming in adapting to the climate crisis.

But we need more of them. If the UK is to reach its carbon neutral target by 2050, the Committee on

Climate Change has recommended an increase in woodland cover from 13% to 19% across the UK.

Our woodland cover in Wales is 14%. The average in mainland Europe is 37% so you can see we are

really need to fine space for more trees.

A Natural Solution to the Climate Crisis

Woodland and trees are a natural solution to the climate crisis. There is a urgent need to act now

but it is also important to get the right trees in the right places to ensure people and wildlife will

benefit too.

A young wood with mixed native species can lock up more than 400 tonnes per hectare in the trees,

roots and the enriched soil.

It's not just new woodland. Carbon accumulation continues in woodland that's centuries old. Ancient

forests are actually carbon sinks, contrary to the long-standing view that they are carbon neutral. So

we in Powys along with the rest of the UK need more trees and we must protect the ones we already


Trees are only part of the solution. Other changes have to be made to reduce global CO2 emissions

and an effective response lies, unfortunately in the hands of world politicians. But we do need to

plant more trees, quickly. Climate change is a huge and complex issue and often we can feel

helpless, but the good news is many of us can help plant trees!

There are lots of Tree Planting Projects in Powys

There has never been a better time to plant a tree - get involved , lend a hand!

Do you have a spot to plant a tree? Or many trees? Get your free trees from one of these places ...

Free Trees - From One the Hundreds

Mid Wales Landscape Scheme offering free trees from one to hundreds - Mid Wales Landscape

Scheme runs loosely within a loop from Llanidloes to Caersws, Llanbrynmair, Machynlleth,

Aberystwyth, Llangurig and back to Llani.

Wales Tree Giveaway: My Tree Our Forest - Woodland Trust

This giveaway is to every household in Powys!

My Tree, Our Forest: For Schools - Keep Wales Tidy

This schme gives trees to schools - tell your children to ask if they can plant trees at school.

Trees for Landowners and Farmers - Woodland Trust

This is a scheme to supply trees for larger scale planting.

There are many community groups managing green spaces for wildlife and biodiversity, some of which are planting native trees or orchards. You can help by getting involved. See our Community Group Listing to find a group near you.

ACTION: Plant trees with your local community action group - find a group in our Community Action section.

Why planting the right trees in the rightplace is important

There is currently a lot of treen planting in Wales. The creation of the new Welsh 'National Forest' is underway, joining up areas of existing forest in one countrywide forest. In this excitement of activity it would be easy to think that any tree, planted anywhere will help. We do need many more trees, but large plantings need to be on degraded land rather than already species-rich land, woodland also needs the right mix of trees and layers to make habitats for the greatest diversity of plants and creatures, they also need woodland edges of different species Single trees can be beneficial and grow faster, trees along the banks of rivers help to keep the water cool and oxygenated, trees in your garden can provide natural shade as well as habitat. If you are thinking about tree planting, Radnorshire Wildlife Trust has a great article about trees in the right place - https://www.rwtwales.org/blog/trees-and-climate-change

Deforestation: What’s wrong with replacing old forests with new?

Why preserving ancient forest is important and planting new doesn't replace defending the old forests.

More actions you can take as an individual



Contributors: Laura Shewring, Phil Ward, Powys Green Guide

Community Groups

Biodiversity Information Service for Powys and Brecon Brecons National Park Brecon
Biodiversity Information Service for Powys and Brecon Brecons National Park - discover more

Transition Presteigne
Transition Presteigne - discover more

Presteigne Tree Group Presteigne
Presteigne Tree Group - discover more

Llais y Goedwig Machynlleth
Llais y Goedwig - discover more

The Hanging Gardens (The Wilderness Trust) Llanidloes
The Hanging Gardens (The Wilderness Trust) - discover more

Llangattock Green Valleys CIC Crickhowell
Llangattock Green Valleys CIC - discover more

Coetir Anian Aberystwyth
Coetir Anian - discover more

BRACE Llanfyllin
BRACE - discover more

Gelli Deg Dyfi Machynlleth
Gelli Deg Dyfi - discover more

Llanidloes Tree Group Llanidloes
Llanidloes Tree Group - discover more

Cultivate (Cwm Harry) Cyfyngedig NEWTOWN
Cultivate (Cwm Harry) Cyfyngedig - discover more

Llangattock Community Woodlands Llangattock
Llangattock Community Woodlands - discover more

Vibrant Vyrnwy Llanwddyn
Vibrant Vyrnwy - discover more

Presteigne Area Community Development Group Presteigne
Presteigne Area Community Development Group - discover more

Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Llandrindod Wells
Radnorshire Wildlife Trust - discover more

Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Powys
Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Powys - discover more

Machynlleth Biodiversity Group Machynlleth
Machynlleth Biodiversity Group - discover more

FreeTree Rhayader
FreeTree - discover more

Edible Mach
Edible Mach - discover more

Knighton Community Woodlands Group
Knighton Community Woodlands Group - discover more

ON THE VERGE TALGARTH - discover more

Businesses and Suppliers

Dolydd Gobaith - discover more

The Hanging Gardens Llanidloes
The Hanging Gardens - discover more

Sector39 Oswestry
Sector39 - discover more

Green Lane Burial Field Montgomery
Green Lane Burial Field - discover more

Wilder Pentwyn Produce Pentwyn
Wilder Pentwyn Produce - discover more


Page last modified: 07 Dec 2022, 15:09

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This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund
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