Drought threatens UK government’s mass forestry scheme

By Helena Horton
The Guardian UK
September 21, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The UK government’s tree planting scheme is at risk because of the drought, the chief plant health officer has warned. Arid conditions have caused heat stress in the young saplings and caused them to become susceptible to disease, Nicola Spence said. …Last year, the government said it would treble tree cover before the next general election in 2024, with mass forestry schemes around the country. This aim was to help increase biodiversity, capture carbon and make landscapes more resilient to flooding and drought. But this year’s record dry conditions have put this at risk. …Diseases and pests affecting UK trees include the oak processionary moth, ash dieback and chestnut blight. The threat to the tree planting scheme is concerning as… it as a “central pillar” of the government’s net zero plan. At present, there is an aim to plant 7,000 hectares of woodland a year by May 2024.

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