THE HEART of England Forest is playing a vital role in fighting climate change.
Established in 1996, the forest has grown to cover over 7,000 acres of land and recently
saw its 2 millionth tree planted.
The forest stretches up the Warwickshire/Worcestershire border, from the present-day borders of Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden, across the ancient Forest of Feckenham, and down to the edge of the Vale of Evesham – the north Cotswolds to south Birmingham.
The ambitious project – the vision of the late multi-millonaire publisher Felix Dennis who lived at Dorsington near Stratford – is helping to reverse centuries of woodland decline by creating and conserving native broadleaf forest for the benefit of the environment, wildlife, and people.
In the 26 years since the first tree was planted, the natural world has changed beyond measure and the challenges of the climate crisis, pollution and biodiversity loss have become increasingly urgent, which is why the charity’s work to protect and enhance the natural world is more important now than ever.
Planting trees is a practical and positive step to take to tackle climate change, as trees produce oxygen and help remove harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, while creating uplifting outdoor environments and providing new habitats for wildlife.
Further environmental and social impacts of tree planting include water purification and flood alleviation.
However, effective conservation action is not just about planting as many trees as possible, but about planting sustainably by planning and managing sites to ensure the right trees go in the right places to make an effective, long-term impact.
The work implemented by The Heart of England Forest charity also aligns with Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC’s) ambitious plans for coming years that will see a tree for every resident planted across the county.
This tree planting by WCC has been strategically planned to restore parts of forests and wooded areas that have been long lost to time, such as the ancient Forest of Arden, which once covered most of the county and beyond into Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is another sustainable initiative – which celebrates Her Majesty’s 70 years of service – helping restore Warwickshire’s woodland.
The next tree planting season, and opportunity to add newly planted trees to The Queen’s Green Canopy Map, will begin from October.
The Heart of England Forest will be planting up 300 acres in support of this initiative in the next tree planting season later this year.
And everyone from individuals and schools to charities and businesses are encouraged to play their part in The QGC by planting trees during the Jubilee year.
Beth Brook, chief executive of The Heart of England Forest, said: “The role our forests play in mitigating climate change and creating diverse and healthy habitats is clear, and there has never been a more important time to act.
“We are pleased that the Queen’s Green Canopy is shining a spotlight on sustainable tree planting to create woodland habitats that survive and thrive in the long-term, an approach we are passionate about here in the Heart of England Forest.”
WCC climate spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “The challenges we face from climate change cannot be underestimated, and it is great to see The Heart of England Forest making great strides for Warwickshire by supporting the creation and conservation of outdoor environments and ecosystems in our county.
“Planting trees is a positive step in responding to climate change, as trees produce oxygen that helps to remove harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They create important green spaces including new habitats for wildlife, whilst also supporting work towards the county council’s climate change emergency goals including achieving net zero emissions by 2030.”
To plant a tree for The Queen’s Green Canopy, and to find out lots of tree-planting advice and recommendations, visit queensgreencanopy.org/get-involved/
To find out more about Heart of England Forest, visit heartofenglandforest.org/
For more information about how WCC is facing the challenges of human-influenced climate change, visit warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk