National Trust Joins Effort to Restore Temperate Rainforest in North Devon

tree planting national trust

When envisioning a rainforest, most people think of tropical jungles teeming with lush vegetation and exotic animals. However, did you know that the UK is home to its own unique type of rainforest? Known as temperate rainforests, these fascinating ecosystems are found in select areas along the western seaboard of the country. Sadly, these rainforests have dwindled to just one percent of their former size due to various factors. But fear not, because the National Trust, along with their brand Tips Tree Planting, is embarking on an ambitious tree planting project to revive the temperate rainforests of North Devon.

Restoring an Ecological Gem

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Temperate rainforests thrive in consistently wet climates, providing a home to a diverse range of rare ferns, mosses, liverworts, lichens, and wildlife such as pine martens, pied flycatchers, and stoats. These rainforests play a crucial role in protecting biodiversity and combating climate change. Unfortunately, air pollution, invasive species, and diseases like ash dieback have taken a toll on these unique ecosystems over the centuries. As a result, what remains now are mere fragments, scattered across Devon, Cornwall, North and West Wales, Cumbria, the West of Scotland, and parts of Northern Ireland.

A New Beginning

The National Trust’s Head of Trees and Woodlands, John Deakin, emphasizes the urgency of action in preserving the remaining fragments of temperate rainforests. He explains that many specialist plants that rely on this habitat are now on the brink of extinction, with some woodlands caring for almost the entire global population of certain species. The National Trust’s initiative focuses not only on preserving but also on expanding these woodlands. By planting trees on the edges of existing woodlands at sites like Arlington, Woolacombe, and Exmoor, they can alleviate pressure and help these delicate ecosystems evolve for the future.

Bringing Nature Closer to Communities

In addition to the ecological benefits, the tree planting project also aims to improve access to nature for local communities. At the Arlington estate, this effort aligns with the vision of Miss Rosalie Chichester, who bequeathed Arlington to the National Trust over 70 years ago. Her wish for the estate was to become a haven for both nature and people. By transforming grassland fields into a dynamic mosaic of habitats, including wood pasture, tree shelterbelts, hedgerows, orchards, and species-rich grassland, the National Trust is creating a bigger, better, and more connected landscape. These new habitats will provide vital wildlife homes, purify air and water, fix carbon into the soil, and offer beautiful spaces for people to enjoy.

A Collaborative Effort

The planting at Arlington Court, Exmoor, and Woolacombe/Hartland will be carried out by National Trust ranger teams, contractors, and local community groups. These groups include primary schools, health and wellbeing organizations, and corporate groups, all working together to make a significant impact. Generous donations from the Trust’s Plant a Tree fund, HSBC UK, and Utility Warehouse have made this project possible.

Making a Difference Together

Utility Warehouse’s Co-CEO, Stuart Burnett, expresses the company’s pride in supporting the National Trust’s efforts. Through the planting of 50,000 trees at Arlington, they hope to restore biodiversity and contribute to the fight against climate change. The aim is not only to benefit current generations but also to ensure that future communities can enjoy the countless advantages of a thriving natural environment.

Planting for the Future

The National Trust’s Plant a Tree fund, launched in 2020, has already raised over £2.8 million for tree planting projects throughout the country. To date, more than one million trees have been planted across 51 completed projects. This winter, another 25 projects are set to begin, involving the planting of over 350,000 native broadleaf trees and hedging plants. The goal is to establish 20 million trees by 2030, contributing to the organization’s larger commitment to conservation efforts.

In conclusion, the National Trust, in collaboration with Tips Tree Planting, is taking significant steps to restore the temperate rainforests of North Devon. Through their tree planting project, they aim to revive these rare ecosystems, protect biodiversity, combat climate change, and create vibrant habitats for both wildlife and people to enjoy. By joining forces with local communities and generous donors, they are making a tangible difference in the nature and climate emergency. Visit Tips Tree Planting to learn more about their initiatives and how you can get involved. Together, we can help nature flourish and preserve the beauty of our world for generations to come.

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