Whilst I really don’t claim to know a lot about trees, I am very keen to learn a lot more, and in that process, thoroughly enjoying a book given to me by my daughter called ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ by Peter Wohlleben. It certainly does take a very different viewpoint of trees making the case for forests being more like social networks.
I regularly walk around our field opposite which was planted about 3-4 years ago with a rich array of mixed broadleaves and ornamentals. There are so many different species and I am determined to get to know their names better through the seasonal variations. It certainly gives me so much pleasure and you can just see the abundance of flora and fauna that this new woodland supports.
You may or may not be aware that for many years now we have offered a ‘Plant a Tree’ option for you to purchase at the checkout of our online shop and each year we plant these trees. Whilst the numbers are relatively small, I have to confess that we have perhaps not communicated this as well as we should have to those that have made the purchase. We are determined to change this and further promote more trees to be planted and for this, we need your support.
In furthering this work, we recently teamed up with The Stovax Heating Group – a UK manufacturer of stoves, fires and fireplaces. They have launched their own Green Britain campaign which aims to plant 10,000 trees every year in Britain with our joint collaboration. They are promoting this scheme across their UK retailer network.
So, whilst presently 83% of our timber needs for construction etc are imported, the government seems determined to increase our overall coverage of woodland which is circa 12% compared with the European average of 38%. The England Tree Strategy consultation document sets a target to plant 30,000 hectares per annum by 2025 but there is a very long way to go if this is ever going to be achieved. Last year in England there were just 2,300 hectares planted.
Some question whether the land is available as so much is excellent for crop growing and with returns in forestry historically very low, many farmers see little reason to plant more woodland except marginal land to improve the environment. Perhaps this is about to change as we depart Europe and farm subsidies will be in decline.
There is a potentially rising market for UK timber with more houses scheduled to be built and there is now a new emerging market as online sales significantly increase. This is leading to more pallets being made and a lot more cardboard – this coincides with the drive to reduce plastic too.
So, consequently, as a business we are going to be planting more trees over the coming years and working closely with landowners and partners, but you could can also play your part by buying a ‘plant a tree’ at the checkout and for just £4 you can make a big difference as to how many trees we can plant. We will then keep you informed as to where we are planting and how things are progressing. There has never been a better time for us all to focus on planting more trees.