Research projects

Major research projects to explore the expansion of forests in the UK

Forests make up 13% of the UK landscape and absorb 21 million tonnes of carbon a year. Scientists want to increase their size, and therefore their capacity.

Six major research projects have been announced which will collectively explore and investigate possible ways of extending the UK’s hedgerows, woodlands, forests and treelines to cover more of the country, in urban and rural.

Those behind this work say steps like this are key to achieving the 2050 net zero carbon target. Already, UK forests are responsible for capturing and storing 21 million tonnes of CO2 per year, while improving biodiversity, reducing the risk of flooding and having a positive impact on well-being.

Overall, funding of £3 million has been allocated for the studies, which include:

*A survey of new approaches to forestland expansion, including natural colonization

*Develop practical tools for farmers to support the expansion of tree planting on farmland

* Investigate the development of agroforestry – growing trees alongside crops and livestock

*Creation of an online tool mapping the risks that deer pose to forests and agricultural lands

* Analyze how to bridge the gap between net zero targets and tree planting locally

*Understand the potential offered by the diversification of tree species to increase the resilience of forests

“The UK is one of the least forested regions in Europe, with only 13% forest cover. They are a valuable resource and part of the solution to addressing the climate and ecological emergencies we face,” said Julie Urquhart, Associate Professor of Environmental Social Sciences at the Countryside and Community Research Institute at the University of Gloucestershire and co – new research ambassador. program.

“These new projects will show how we can effectively support those who manage our tree landscapes to expand these habitats and improve our environment while locking in carbon to fight climate change,” she added.

Earlier this month, the University of Gothenburg published new research suggesting planting trees may not be an effective solution to climate change. I found why.

Image: Donald Giannatti