On Your Doorstep Issue 1 - Page 15

Every year we learn more about the ways we benefit from trees. Their role in cleaning the air, conserving soil, lowering flood risk, improving mental and physical health and supporting huge numbers of important species become ever more apparent. The rise of plantation forestry has paved the way for economically and environmen-tally sustainable woodland livelihoods .

Despite all of this, society in the UK has never been more disconnected from its trees. Indivi-duals are less likely to spend time in woods, including children who are spending more time in front of screens at the expense of ‘wild time’. When we spend less time with trees it is easier to ignore the issues they face, and our woods and trees are facing huge threats to their future from pests, diseases, climate change and development.

If we don’t bring trees and woods back to the centre of life in the UK, we risk losing them from our landscapes. We need to stop taking trees for granted, recognise and celebrate their huge contribution to our lives, and take responsibility for their welfare.

The future

The Charter for Trees (https://treecharter.uk) is asking us to share our stories, which will tell them how we feel trees and woods improve our lives, so that they can ensure these benefits are recognised and protected in the charter. Trees and woods bring countless benefits and the charter will set out the people’s rights to these benefits. It will also remind us of the responsibilities we need to undertake so that trees and people can stand together in the future. The charter will make sure that trees feature in the stories of future generations.

The charter will have a physical legacy, co-created with communities across the UK. It will be a reminder that the launch of the charter in November 2017 is a beginning, not an end., The charter will mark the start of a new era for the UK in which the many benefits of trees are treasured, understood and fully realised across society.

Trees and woods inspire stories, but they are fading into memory and our trees and woods are at risk of being forgotten. It’s time to start standing up for trees. Share your story and help to create a charter for the UK that is rooted in our connection to trees and woods. Send your stories to https://treecharter.uk/share-your-story/.

Projects

Charter for Trees

People and trees are stronger together – but the UK's woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, disease and climate change. They risk being neglected, undervalued and forgotten. It’s time to stick up for trees. In 2017 Charter for Trees will launch the "Charter for Trees, Woods and People, a lasting legacy for the whole of the UK: The Woodland Trust is leading more than 50 organisations to define the charter. We introduce it in this issue; look out for part 2 in the next one.

The charter will:

Help to unlock the potential of the UK’s trees and woods.

Improve our lives and landscapes.

Celebrate the trees in our lives.

(c) Marian Sidebottom