TEPs Arboriculturists are well-versed in the fantastic benefits of trees and the role they play in climate resilience. Trees are amazingly efficient carbon off-setters, sequestering carbon and accumulating it in the form of biomass, deadwood and in the soil. However, planting trees purely as a ‘carbon sink’ to offset harmful activities, does not always make the most of the wider role trees play in natural capital assets, interests and ecosystem services.
Advising on existing trees early in projects helps to ensure that the best and most valued trees are retained and incorporated into developments. Planning developments with tree advice from the outset can help ensure protection of valued trees and tree groups with their carbon storage, landscape, biodiversity amenity and well-being benefits secured. Tree protection and methods of working that avoid, reduce or mitigate effects can mean that new developments benefit from the retention of trees that otherwise could have been lost.
Tree planting sometimes seems the blanket response to climate action. While it has a large part to play in the offset, haphazardly planting trees without careful planning can lead to the loss or displacement of other habitats, including species-rich grasslands, wetlands, heathlands and peatlands. The wrong trees in the wrong place can also adversely affect the soil (including soil carbon), water flows, water quality, biodiversity and air quality. Better management of a site’s tree stock, both existing and proposed needs to be viewed as a contributor to achieving ‘carbon net zero’, instead of being the only solution.
TEP is currently working with Oldham Council to deliver the Northern Roots project, which will create the largest urban farm and eco-park in the UK. Our green and blue infrastructure study will bring together woodland management and creation objectives; low and zero carbon technologies; carbon capture potential of different habitats; and; capital and revenue funding sources. Northern Roots is pursuing nature based interventions that deliver the right mix of social, environmental and economic outcomes to help mitigate and adapt to climate change. This is an exciting and challenging project for all involved but one which will ultimately optimise environmental performance towards net zero and improve the lives of local communities. It is also paving the way and helping to set the standard for combating climate resilience in the future.
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