Plant trees around cities, not in upland areas, Government-commissioned report urges

Traditional state support for forestry does not maximise wider returns to society nearly as well as planting trees around population centres, according to a new report from a panel of environmental experts.

Image: UK NEA
Image: UK NEA

The Government-commissioned UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on compared three policy scenarios over the next 50 years: business-as-usual; maximal planting for minimal financial support; and targeting support to maximise "social value" of woodlands, including recreational and environmental gains.

This found that while the second option cost only a third as much, the net benefit to society was negative. But the third option brought benefits valued at more than twice the amount invested.

One of the report's authors, Professor Ian Bateman of the University of East Anglia, said: "Perfect positioning of new trees could create net benefits exceeding £500 million each year to society. But choosing the wrong areas, particularly to maximise market return, could incur a net loss to the taxpayer of up to £65 million."

The report, available to download here, is published by the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Secretariat, based at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge.

It is funded by Defra, the Welsh Government, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Trees and Shrubs - Planting benefits

Trees and Shrubs - Planting benefits

The message that health, the environment and business all benefit from trees is finally getting through, but are nurseries seeing an upturn? Sally Drury reports.

Trees and Shrubs - Planting products

Trees and Shrubs - Planting products

Young trees face a tough challenge to get established. Sally Drury looks at some of the best products available to help ensure successful planting projects.

Horticulture Week Business Award - Arboriculture Consultant of the Year

Horticulture Week Business Award - Arboriculture Consultant of the Year

Winner - Barrell Tree Consultancy

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs


Build your business with the latest public sector tenders covering landscape, arboriculture, grounds care, production and kit supplies. To receive the latest tenders weekly to your inbox sign up for our Tenders Tracker bulletin here.

HW Top UK Arboriculture Businesses

See our exclusive RANKING of arboriculture businesses by annual turnover. 


Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2018 winners.

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources