Woodland cover at record levels
Appeared on Space For Nature on 5th April 2004
According to the Forestry Commission woodland cover in Britain is at record levels. But today a higher proportion of our trees are of species not native to Britain.
Although at 10%, the recorded amount of land in Britain covered by woodland may be higher than at any time since Domesday, this figure masks the fact that a great many of the trees which account for the increase over recent decades are those planted by gardeners and local authorities; and a great many of these are non-native.
Thirty years ago in a landmark field guide, Alan Mitchell identified 800 types of tree in Britain. In a new edition of the Collins Tree Guide by Owen Johnson and David More, 1600 types have been identified! Whilst the increasing interest in trees amongst Britain's gardeners and local councils is commendable, it must be remembered that all trees are not equal. Some exotic varieties of trees are able to tolerate our climate and soil conditions very well, but they do not support the same intricate web of animal and plant communities associated with many of our native species.
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