Aerial top view of the Puddletown Forest in Dorset, UK

The economic worth of standalone trees

For the first time, the economic worth of standalone trees, those not found in forests or woodlands, has been pegged at £3.8 billion. This revelation came to light today (Sunday 4 December) in a pioneering study jointly released by Forest Research and Defra during National Tree Week.

Trees not within woodlands are those singular trees spotted in both urban and rural settings. They represent some of the most distinctive trees within our landscape, from widespread hedgerows to the solitary trees that grace our roadsides, accounting for nearly one-fourth of all trees in Great Britain.

The given valuation hinges on the pivotal functions these trees perform, which include carbon capture and storage, temperature moderation, bolstering flood defenses, and curbing noise and air pollution. These contributions collectively aid in combating climate change, safeguarding infrastructure and populations from flood repercussions, cooling urban areas during hot seasons, and fostering health and wellness.

 

By spotlighting the immense worth of these trees, the study aims to encourage local councils, land overseers, and communities to plant more standalone trees, appreciating the multifaceted benefits they offer. This initiative aligns with the objectives of the England Trees Action Plan, pushing towards the broader governmental ambition to triple tree planting rates in England by the end of this legislative period and to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

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