Where and how to plant a tree: do your bit for the planet

Tree planting at County Hall to mark National Tree Week

Tree planting at County Hall to mark National Tree Week - Credit: DCC

A step-by-step ‘reforesting’ toolkit has been launched to guide everyone wishing to plant trees in Devon.

The launch of the 'Right Place, Right Tree' guide coincides with National Tree Week, running until Sunday, December 5.

Across the UK and Devon people will be planting thousands of trees to mark the start of the winter tree planting season. 

The guide has been created by the Devon Local Nature Partnership, which includes Devon's councils, The Woodland Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, all of Devon’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Dartmoor National Park Authority.

It will help anyone, regardless if you are a farmer, landowner, community group, business, agent, or an individual planning a tree planting or woodland creation scheme, who wants to plant one or more trees.

Planting trees and increasing woodland cover has many benefits. They capture and store carbon as they grow, which will help the county achieve its aims of becoming a net-zero by 2050 at the latest, and they can reduce flooding risk and provide habitats for thousands of species.

However, while most new tree cover is a positive thing, new trees in the wrong locations could result in unintended negative consequences.

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For example, establishing trees in wildflower-rich grasslands, heathlands, or peatlands, could actually reduce biodiversity in these areas or even release more carbon than will be stored by the planted trees.

Trees and their roots can also damage buried archaeology, historic sites, and their settings while poorly designed plantations can change the diversity and special qualities of Devon’s landscapes.

The seven-step tool kit includes ideas on planting and explains why we need to establish more trees. It provides a step-by-step guide on how to navigate through the information already out there and where you can get further advice and possible funding.

The toolkit can help communities understand what the ‘Right Tree in Right Place’ means in relation to your local landscape, and also empowers people to recognise what isn’t appropriate.

It will assist professional advisors to guide clients on appropriate siting and design of woodland creation schemes in Devon’s landscape, with reference to the UK Forestry Standard.

Chair of the DLNP Board, Professor Michael Winter OBE, said: “It is critical that we act now to expand our tree cover here in Devon. Planting trees is such a positive thing we can do in response to the biodiversity crisis and climate emergency.

“There are easy ways to establish more trees in our landscape, such as allowing trees in hedges to grow. But other things may need more careful thought. The DLNP appreciate there are lots of things to think about, so we hope our new guidance will help people develop and implement their ideas for tree planting and woodland creation in an environmentally sensitive and creative way.”

The Right Place, Right Tree guidance can be found on the DLNP website.