There is an ongoing battle to protect our woodland in the UK, however concerned organisations, individuals, school children, communities and more have spoken up.
Today, our woodland areas face many dilemmas including: low planting rates, unreliable management, absence of legal protection and more. These problems have been spoken about individually by a small group of worried organisations and tree enthusiasts and a solution has been discussed. The call for a Tree Charter was put out in 2015 by the Woodland Trust.
A little bit of history
Around 800 years ago in 1217, the Charter of the Forest was created which recognised right of admission to the royal forest for ‘free men’. The main focus of this Charter was to establish a relationship between man and the benefits of the ‘royal forests’. In other words, the Charter of the Forest was a piece of environmental legislation designed to protect our woodlands and trees.
Modern day – What’s been done?
Moving forwards to 2017, our trees are in need of urgent protection.
A call for new Charter for Trees was put out to promote the healthy relationship between our people and our trees. The Woodland Trust managed to get over 70 organisations and 300 local communities to answer the call. They also collected over 60,000 tree stories from people which demonstrate how trees play a significant role in their lives.
In 2010 campaigns were released by the Government to sell off parts of the Public Forest Estate (PFE) in England. However, the public uproar required the Government to drop their plans.
In 2011 the Independent Panel Review on Forestry recommended we need a new charter which imitated the modern day role of trees, and protection for the PFE for future generations. Bishop James Jones highlighted:
“As a Panel we have a vision of a more wooded landscape and more woods closer to where people live. There is a place for urban trees, wooded parklands and hedgerows as much as for conifer plantations and small scattered woodlands within a broader landscape…and getting a far greater number of woods – both new and existing ones – managed sustainably is essential.
Government, woodland owners, the forestry sector, non-Government organisations, communities and the public all have a role to play”
Some of Bishop James Jones’ recommendations were picked up on by the Government. It’s important that this challenge to society is acknowledged in the development and launch of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People.
The 10 Principles
The Charter for Trees, Woods and People sets out 10 principles by which trees and people in the UK can work together.
How Can You Get Involved?
You can get involved by signing the charter here and don’t forget to spread the word on social media! Once signing the charter, you’re encouraged to plant a tree! You can also discover heritage sites across the British Isles that give a vision into the influential role trees have played in our culture. See here for more detail.
You can also Celebrate National Tree Charter Day which falls in National Tree Week every year.
Want more information or want to sign up?