Why trees

Trees are vital. Not only to the natural world, but to us humans, too. They nourish our health and wellbeing, bring joy and prosperity to our communities, and sustain the planet on which we depend. Community forestry is about maximising all these benefits.

People and Communities

It’s a documented fact that people prefer to spend longer periods of time in town centres with more trees because they’re seen to create a welcoming and sociable atmosphere. Humans have a deep connection with trees and woodlands – we always have.

From the use of holly and mistletoe as festive decorations to the superstitious planting of rowan trees in our gardens to ensure harmony within the home, our social history is littered with examples of the role trees have played in our day-to-day lives.

Our language contains evidence of this connection, too. The phrase “touch wood”, for example, originates from a belief that trees bring good luck. And in many ways, they do, with research now proving that spending time in woodlands and around trees can:

  • Lower stress
  • Build confidence
  • Improve mental wellbeing
  • Reduce illness recovery times
  • Ease conditions such as asthma by filtering pollution

Trees and woodlands can also be a great focal point for a community, providing a place for social activities such as walking, cycling, photography, birdwatching and running. They make everything look and feel nicer too, providing shade from the sun and shelter from the elements, screening unpleasant sights, and adding colour and shape to the landscape.

Environment and Climate Change

Climate change is having a huge impact across the globe, with severe weather events and high pollution levels now becoming the norm in many places – and it’s mainly down to rising carbon emissions. Thankfully, trees can help us both manage and even reverse these effects. Here’s how.

Soil quality
Like us, trees need water to thrive – and soil only holds water if it’s healthy. Trees help ensure this is the case, with their roots and fallen leaves increasing ‘nutrient movement’ and, in turn, improving the overall soil quality.

Because they provide food, shelter, protection, and even ‘corridors’ between resources, trees are brilliant for supporting biodiversity. More so when there’s a mix of trees species. The shade they cast can also help counter rising water temperatures, which is vital to the survival of aquatic life.

Economic benefits

The economic benefits of trees are enormous and can be felt by everyone from land and homeowners to businesses big and small – before, during and long after the planting stage.

Trees can also provide landowners with ‘natural capital’ such as renewable energy (firewood), raw materials (timber), and fruits. And this needn’t disrupt current land use, with it being possible to incorporate new woodland into existing economical structures, such as arable and pasture farming.

Within communities, trees and woodlands can increase property values by making the area more desirable, which can help to attract new businesses. They can reduce costs too, thanks to their cooling effects which can lower the running costs of buildings through reducing the need for air-conditioning by up to 10%.

Green shoots…
Income is quickly generated for local plant nurseries and delivery partners through the growth and sale of trees, and jobs are often created when those same local companies receive funding to help with their planting and maintenance.

Rising up!
In other cases, the creation and management of woodland provides volunteering opportunities for local people, often putting them on a career path they might not have considered otherwise (some of our own team members started out as volunteers).

Volunteering also provides local groups and businesses with a wonderful way of lifting spirits and strengthening the bond between team members, both of which can contribute to increased levels of productivity and higher retention rates.