National Tree Week 2011 – 26th November to 4th December

National Tree Week 2011 - 26th November to 4th December

The Tree Council’s annual tree weeks have been an undoubted success, emanating from the 1973  “Plant a tree in ’73” campaign (some rather cynical individuals chanted “cut it down in ’74”) and must have resulted in not only in promoting the whole idea of trees but in planting many thousands across the country in parks, gardens, roadsides, corners of farmland and development sites to name but a few.  The Tree Coucil ( http://www.treecouncil.org.uk) is our foremost campaigner and umbrella body for UK organisations involved in tree planting, care and conservation.

Forestry and woodlands are a long-term business but those of us planting in ’73 can see the fruits of our labours: we stand back and look up at the hornbeam, hazel, hawthorn and fieldmaple spreading wide and high;  the oak, ash, beech and birch are trees, a miraculous metamorphosis from those tiny whips planted during the cold winter months – it seems like yesterday.  We plant for the next generation but once established trees grow quickly so we can all enjoy watching them develop.

National Tree Week isn’t just about planting trees in the right places, its about; conserving and protecting  the trees we have,  focusing on the benefits of trees in our communities and landscape, supporting the many organisations involved in trees and woodlands.

Why do we need National Tree Week?

The Human response to trees as with animals is a paradox, we love animals but we hunt them for pleasure, eat them for food and exterminate when our direct interests are challenged.  Ever since man developed the tools trees have been the main focus of human destruction throughout ancient and modern history.  That paradox is still with us, trees bring so much pleasure and well-being but there is also in many a deep seated suspicion of trees and woodland.  National Tree Week helps to remind us that life on earth simply depends on trees.

National Tree Week also helps to remind us of the need to look after the trees that we have, Andy Byford co-author of  "Forestry recommissioned") and Plantlife’s Landscape conservation manager is quoted as saying  “we're living in a time when everyone is rushing to go out and plant trees,  we believe that we need to see better management for the nation's woodlands, rather than just creating more dull woodlands.  The legacy of the 1960’s/70’s coniferisation of ancient woodland is still with us with 1,000’s of hectares of PAWS (plantations on ancient woodlands) waiting to be restored while there is some chance that the diminished ground flora will re-establish.

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