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How to help prevent deforestation

  • by JW

“Conservationists are working hard to reverse the long-term deforestation of Britain.”

“Deforestation Free Nation”


Where should we be planting trees?

In terms of climate change mitigation, the further south you go, the more trees we should be planting:

“Specifically, according to a 2007 study that has been repeatedly confirmed, the best place to plant new trees is the tropics, where trees grow fastest and thus trap the most CO2. In contrast, planting trees in snowy regions near the poles is likely to cause a net warming, while planting them in temperate climates – like that of the UK, much of Europe and parts of the US – may have no net effect on climate.”

Trees, plants and carbon – Vision Group for Sidmouth


But of course, there are other good reasons for planting trees – and that includes creating habitats and helping biodiversity:

Woodlands for climate and nature – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Which all amounts to ‘natural capital’:

Natural capital: our natural resources – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Let alone actual monetary value and earning a living:

Agroforestry: growing not planting trees is the key – Vision Group for Sidmouth


The Sidmouth Arboretum’s Tree Report from 2014 shows things are looking particularly good in these parts:

The Sid Valley has 23.2% canopy cover, provided by an estimated 405,000 trees. Average for southwest England 11.2%.

Tree Report v6:Layout 1

This has been looked at academically too:

(PDF) Sidmouth i-Tree Eco impact summary

And indeed, the tree cover as an ‘urban forest’ compares very well:

Introducing England’s urban forests |


However, we cannot be complacent – with ash dieback, climate change and other threats to our tree canopy:

Tackling ash-dieback in Devon – Vision Group for Sidmouth


And there is much more planting which can be done – and which can get people more in touch with trees, if they are literally on their doorstep:

Planting trees on our streets – Vision Group for Sidmouth


An excellent piece by writer and horticulturalist Rachel Brown is very practical on how we can reverse the centuries of deforestation in Britain and around the world.

Here’s just one excerpt:

The Ultimate Guide to Help Prevent Deforestation

Deforestation in the United Kingdom

Today, around 12.9% of the UK’s landmass is forested (about 12 million square miles in total). This is certainly an improvement from the 1920s…but continued effort and vigilance is required. Recently, tree-planting efforts have fallen short of intended targets, and the UK as a whole—and especially England—remains far less forested than many nations in Europe. Tree coverage in the European Union stands at around 38%, significantly higher than the UK’s 12.9% (or England’s 10%). In sum, conservationists are working hard to reverse the long-term deforestation of Britain that began in the Central Middle Ages and accelerated in the 19th and 20th centuries…

The Ultimate Guide To Help Prevent Deforestation


Rachel’s concluding parts look at what we can do to help – and she suggests volunteering to help look after, plant and generally appreciate trees and woodland.

And certainly, in the Sid Valley, there are several groups taking practical steps to prevent deforestation and increase tree canopy – as well as raise awareness of what we’ve got.

Even in these times, it is still possible to help out on these projects:

Sidmouth Arboretum

Sidmouth Arboretum | Facebook

Sid Valley Biodiversity | Facebook

Volunteering with East Devon | National Trust

Volunteering Vacancies |

Friends of The Byes / Sidmouth BEE Project | Facebook

Friends of Glen Goyle – A Vision Group for Sidmouth initiative


Meanwhile, the UK government is taking action:

Government response to the recommendations of the Global Resource Initiative – GOV.UK

Although many say it’s not really substantial enough:

Does the proposed UK deforestation law give any clues about the UK’s position on mandatory due diligence?

UK sets out law to curb illegal deforestation and protect rainforests | Deforestation | The Guardian

Perhaps we need to follow the example of the Welsh government:

Making Wales a Deforestation Free Nation – Size of Wales