What’s Going On Here?
Two London boroughs make it into the top 20 list of areas with the most tree cover in England and Wales.
What Does This Mean?
Tree cover in England and Wales has been mapped and the results might leave you stumped. The trees have been detected using machine learning algorithms applied to high-resolution aerial photographs, terrain maps, and surface maps to create a national tree-mendous map.
Urban areas sneak into the top of the list with tree-lined streets, gardens, and local parks boosting the tree numbers in Croydon and Camden. What might be more unbe-leaf-able is that areas with the lowest tree cover include rural locations like parts of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales.
“These areas were swept of trees for farming and have never recovered,” says Dr Paul Brindley, an expert in trees and planning at Sheffield University’s Department of Landscape Architecture.
Why Should We Care?
Because, beyond that perfect golden autumnal Instagram shot, trees and woodland provide so many benefits to the environment and us. Mapping where trees are (and where they aren’t) helps research into their benefits.
Trees are our strongest warriors in the battle against climate change. They lock up carbon, fight flooding, keep soil nutrient-rich and bolster biodiversity.
In particular, trees in urban areas reduce air pollution, cool ‘urban heat island’ effects, and boost residents’ health and wellbeing.
Over the past few years, the idea of planting trees as a low cost, high impact solution to climate change has really taken hold but not all planting initiatives are created treequal.
- Go global and explore forest cover across the world with this interactive map from Global Forest Watch
- Help the woodland trust plant 50 million trees https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/
- Find a local tree and hug it like you’re the Tiger in the wildlife photographer of the year winner 2020 tag us if you do!
- And for bookworms out there, branch out your reading list to these suggestions that get to the root of the English landscape:
Who owns England? – Guy Shrubsole
Feral – George Monbiot