Our Trees – A British Charter

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

Fifty organisations including the Forest Stewardship Council, National Trust, RSPB and WWF are calling for people in the UK to submit an anecdote, memory or even a photo explaining why or how trees and woodlands have enriched their lives. Led by the Woodland Trust, the campaign has seen 50,000 submissions since it began. The submissions will be collated to guide the creation of a Charter for Trees, Woods and People recognising the value of trees in British life and how we should be concerned about the future of trees and forests in the UK. Furthermore, the Tree Charter will set out how people and trees should be able to benefit each other. By collecting these submissions, the charter will reflect the wants and need of people in the UK and thus ‘if a policy or project goes against the articles of the Tree Charter it will go against the will of the hundreds of thousands of people whose views it represents’.

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A brief Charter story

The campaign was fuelled by a belief that the British people have become severely disconnected from our landscapes, including ancient woodlands. Trees and woodlands in the UK are also facing threats from climate change, pests and diseases, poor management and development that seeks to deforest ancient woodlands. Not only  that, but trees have a critical functional role in an ecosystem, cleaning the air, conserving soil, lowering flood risk, forming habitats for a wide variety of species and supporting human mental and physical health.

The Charter will be used to influence policy that aims to protect trees and woodlands across the UK. The guidelines and principles it contains will also be applicable  business practice and individual action.

Submissions

Entering a submission will make sure your voice is heard. You can enter here by 12th March. Below are a few of the submissions that have already been entered:

I couldn’t be without my local wood

‘My local wood, Bentley Wood on the Wiltshire Hampshire border, is a constant source of peace, quiet and enjoyment. All kinds of trees, a wide range of wildlife and birds, and native plantlife from orchids to primroses – there is always something to admire and be surprised by.

No day, no season, no light effect through the branches is ever the same. I horseride there as often as I can, one of my life’s great privileges; an SSSI, the wood was given to the surrounding local communities by a local benefactor.

Hardwoods like oak are my favourite trees. Their lifespan is so much longer than ours that they reassure us of the vitality of life beyond our own.’

Leaf skeleton

‘Finding a leaf skeleton in Cannock Chase when I was maybe 8 years old and my parents explaining what it was. I thought it was beautiful and amazing. Nearly 30 years later I still remember. I’ve an A level in biology and an environmental science degree now. I understand that beautiful leaf skeleton much better now and I can’t wait to take my 5 month old daughter into woodland’.

Tress give me strength and peace

My dear Dad passed away during the night. As soon as it was light I needed to get outside into ‘Nature’.

I walked in our local nature reserve and was drawn to where a large, majestic, beautiful cedar tree grows.
I held the strong trunk in my arms and pressed my face against the bark – and sobbed for my loss. Later, as my tears abated I began to have a sense of peace. That marvellous tree was giving me the strength to carry on.

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