Branch­ing out:

This Novem­ber wel­comes Na­tional Tree Week, with events go­ing on around the coun­try to cel­e­brate this vi­tal com­po­nent of the ecosys­tem

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - WORDS: El­lie Fells To find out more about the tree war­den scheme, and to see a full list­ing of events run­ning as part Na­tional Tree Week, visit treecoun­cil.org.uk/Take-Part/Na­tional-Tree-Week

It’s Na­tional Tree Week this month. Who knew?

Trees are all around us: from pro­vid­ing re­sources for books and fur­ni­ture to sup­ply­ing our at­mos­phere with oxy­gen, we couldn’t live without them. But de­spite how much we use trees in our day-to-day lives, do we ever stop to think about pro­tect­ing them?

In a bid to urge peo­ple to do ex­actly that, the Tree Coun­cil runs Na­tional Tree Week ev­ery Novem­ber, this year fall­ing be­tween Novem­ber

24 – De­cem­ber 2. The week’s his­tory dates back to the 1970s, as Mar­garet Lip­scombe, a pro­gramme di­rec­tor at the coun­cil, ex­plains.

“It started off with the ‘Plant a Tree in 73’ cam­paign, which was a mas­sive ef­fort to re­pop­u­late the coun­try af­ter the land­scape had been stricken by Dutch Elm Dis­ease. The gov­ern­ment de­cided that it needed to get ev­ery­one to­gether to do tree plant­ing, and it’s gone on from there.”

The week will see or­gan­i­sa­tions from across the coun­try come to­gether to en­cour­age the pro­tec­tion of our wood­lands. The Wood­land Trust is hold­ing its first ever Tree Char­ter Day on Novem­ber 24, and cer­tain Na­tional Trust prop­er­ties across the coun­try are also get­ting in­volved.

The UK is pop­u­lated with bil­lions of trees, but the risks they face are stack­ing up. Natalie Stephen­son from The Wood­land Trust ex­plains that var­i­ous pests and dis­eases are pos­ing a con­stant threat to tree health, such as Ash Tree Dieback, which is se­ri­ously de­plet­ing num­bers of ash.

She adds: “We’re closer to de­for­esta­tion here in the UK than ever be­fore, with the gov­ern­ment fail­ing to reach tree plant­ing tar­gets year on year.”

Sara Lom, the chief ex­ec­u­tive at the Tree Coun­cil, also com­ments: “There’s a lot of chal­lenge with fund­ing, be­cause lo­cal au­thor­i­ties don’t have the bud­get that they used to have to em­ploy tree of­fi­cers.”

Na­tional Tree Week is there­fore needed more than ever. For­tu­nately, our younger gen­er­a­tion seem to be eco­log­i­cally for­ward-think­ing, and Sara is op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of the tree.

“I think it’s fan­tas­tic that now, part of the na­tional cur­ricu­lum at pri­mary school level is the sea­sons, for ex­am­ple,” she says. “Young peo­ple in gen­eral are very

‘We are closer to de­for­esta­tion here in the UK than ever be­fore, with the gov­ern­ment fail­ing to reach tree plant­ing tar­gets’

en­vi­ron­men­tally aware of the world around us.”

For those who are keen to help to pro­tect our wood­lands all year round, the Tree Coun­cil has a net­work of 8,000 tree war­dens across the coun­try, who work to con­serve trees on a daily ba­sis. The war­den scheme brings to­gether peo­ple from all walks of life, with the shared in­ter­est of help­ing the won­der­ful wood­lands around us. “Tree war­dens can be any­one, with any level of knowl­edge,” says Mar­garet Lip­scombe.N

Tree war­dens hard at work

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