part of the North West Climate Change Action Plan

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A Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forests

Date: 2007

Evidence type: Policy

Organisation: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

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This 10-15 year strategy has the vision: "It is 2050, and England's trees, woods and forests are helping us to cope with the continuing challenge of climate change and are also valued because many more people now enjoy using them. Trees are not just an important part of England's history, but an essential feature of a modern, sustainable society, which has significantly reduced carbon emissions". It aims to:


  • Provide, in England, a resource of trees, woods and forests in places where they can contribute most in terms of environmental, economic and social benefits now and for future generations.
  • Ensure that existing and newly planted trees, woods and forests are resilient to the impacts of climate change and also contribute to the way in which  biodiversity and natural resources adjust to a changing climate.
  • Protect and enhance the environmental resources of water, soil, air, biodiversity and landscapes (both woodland and non-woodland), and the cultural and amenity values of trees and woodland.
  • Increase the contribution that trees, woods and forests make to the quality of life for those living in, working in or visiting England.
  • Improve the competitiveness of woodland businesses and promote the development of new or improved markets for sustainable woodland products and ecosystem services where this will deliver identifiable public benefits, nationally or locally, including the reduction of carbon emissions.

Key Messages

Policies for communities and place.

- Help people to engage with the ownership, design, management, maintenance and use of their local trees and woodlands as part of their vision for their own neighbourhood (especially those groups and individuals who are difficult to reach or not currently involved);  

- Promote and support the role of trees and woodlands as a catalyst for community capacity building, bringing together different members of the community through formal and informal activities;  

- Support healthy living policies by encouraging people to use woodlands (in public, private, and voluntary and community sector ownership) for physical activities ranging from recreation and play to organised sport and conservation volunteering; the priority will be to provide high quality access near where people live, integrated with other statutory and permissive access where appropriate;  

- Provide, for everyone who could benefit, information about the accessibility and public use of local woodlands;  

- Support the use of trees and woodland as a resource for lifelong learning, including implementing policies on teaching and learning outside the classroom;  

- Pursue opportunities to increase public recognition, enjoyment and understanding of the historic, archaeological and cultural value of trees and forests, particularly of our ancient woodlands and veteran trees.

Green infrastructure type
Woodland; Trees
Climate change role/function
Managing visitor pressure

Policies for green infrastructure and a sense of place.

- Encourage an early and integrated approach to tree and woodland planting and management in and around our towns and cities to provide a high quality, sustainable resource which reflects local needs and landscape character, and is responsive to change;  

- Improve the delivery of the Sustainable Communities Plan by giving trees and woodlands a role in contributing to an increase in the scale and connectivity of green infrastructure in priority areas for housing growth or renewal e.g. Growth Areas and New Growth Points;  

- Integrate trees, woodland and associated green space into local growth, regeneration and brownfield restoration, as a cost-effective and sustainable contribution to local environmental quality;  

- Promote the ecosystem services that trees and woodlands provide in the built environment and plan for their future role in supporting the delivery of Making Space for Water and the use of woodlands (together with other land management changes) as a contribution to: reducing flood risk; improving air quality; providing wildlife corridors; and minimising the impacts of climate change.

Green infrastructure type
Woodland; Trees
Climate change role/function
Non-specific mitigation role/function; Non-specific adaptation role/function; Managing riverine flooding; Managing coastal flooding; Managing surface water; Helping other species to adapt

Policies for land and the natural environment.

- Seek a landscape-scale approach to tree planting, woodland creation and management, which takes account of the interaction between trees, woodlands and other land uses, and delivers the benefits of the wider ecosystem services which strategically placed woodland can provide;  

- Seek a greater role for trees, hedgerows and woodland within more extensive agricultural management systems;  

- Review the effectiveness of woodland and green space networks in combating the effects of climate change and increase their resilience to further change, for example by aiming for less fragmentation and more diversity at the landscape scale, in terms of habitat structure, species composition and genetics;  

- Address the causes of woodland decline and promote the protection of trees, woods and forests from invasive species, diseases and other damage e.g. from atmospheric pollution;  

- Ensure that trees and woodlands are planted and managed (both now and as our climate changes) to protect soil and water resources from erosion and from chemical, physical and biological degradation, in line with the objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive and the proposed EU Soil Framework Directive;  

- Improve public understanding of the role of woodland products and ecosystem services in dealing with climate change and safeguarding biodiversity;  

- Develop a clear rationale to guide removal of inappropriate plantations and woodland for the purpose of restoring key BAP habitats (e.g. lowland heathland and upland bog), where the benefits of doing so outweigh the environmental and social costs;  

- Ensure that planting and management of trees, woods and forests takes account of local landscape attributes, for example as brought together through the Joint Character Areas in England, and contributes to the delivery of the requirements of the European Landscape Convention.

Green infrastructure type
Non-specific green infrastructure; Woodland; Trees; Wetlands; Grassland, heathland and moorland; Agricultural land
Climate change role/function
Non-specific adaptation role/function; Managing water supply; Managing surface water; Reducing soil erosion; Helping other species to adapt

Policies for working woodlands.

- Promote public understanding of the need for active woodland management, and the benefits it can bring;  

- Ensure that a wide range of appropriate business and financial advice and support is available to existing and new woodland based enterprises, including social enterprises;  

- Support investment and innovation in the woodland and arboriculture supply chains to enhance business efficiency and flexibility, encourage integration and improve competitiveness;  

- Support skills development and knowledge transfer for traditional forestry, new business opportunities, green space planning and management, and arboriculture;  

- Support innovation and entrepreneurship in developing new products and market opportunities;  

- Work with public and private sector partners to develop a sustainable woodfuel industry with a focus on utilisation of material in currently under-managed woodlands;  

- Promote investment in innovation, cooperation, processing and marketing of wood fuel;  

- Work with Lantra to ensure that forestry and woodland businesses have the opportunity to influence the supply and delivery of training which is demand-led and reflects industry requirements;  

- Review the regulatory and grant-making framework to see if it is efficient and fit for purpose to deliver this Strategy;  

- Review, update and disseminate advice and information on silvicultural and timber processing best practice for the production of quality timber and other woodland products, and for dealing with the impacts of climate change on trees, woods and forests.

Green infrastructure type
Woodland; Trees
Climate change role/function
Fossil fuel substitution; Material substitution

Continuing activity and innovation within the twelve Community Forests and The National Forest is identified as an opportunity for action.

Green infrastructure type
Woodland; Trees
Document Analysis


Level of document
Geographical area to which document refers
Is 'green infrastructure' mentioned?
Relevant to climate change...
Mitigation; Adaptation
Is it relevant to other (non-climate change) benefits of green infrastructure?
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