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3378 Views 6 Replies Last post: Oct 19, 2010 5:17 PM by triptibansal RSS
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Oct 8, 2010 11:56 AM

Is planting trees really an answer to anything?

I am an amateur botanist living in NW England. I am fascinated by our local flora and have recorded nearly 700 species, mostly within walking distance of my house (or, at least, a short bus ride away). And yet this marvellous flora seems to be practically invisible (in spite of the fact that records stretch back nearly 200 years). The local authorities and many (although not all) voluntary groups seem to be obsessed with planting trees. There now appears to be a widespread idea that the most noble thing that an environmentally aware person can do is to plant a tree - closely followed by planting 'wild flowers'. But I believe that tree planting should be very low down on an environmentalists list of priorities (at least in the UK) - conservation should, surely, be about valuing and enhancing what is already there - not about arbitrarily introducing new things (?)

 

Across the road from my house is a nature reserve which once consisted of irreplaceable native grassland. A significant portion of this grassland was destroyed in the 1970s and 80s by ill-considered and ignorant tree planting - and we are now left with a plantation of spindly trees which have lowered the water table, blow down in the slightest breeze and are associated with an impoverished ground flora. On another nearby nature reserve, which contains a locally unique flora, the local authority is planning to import top soil and plant 'wild flowers'. It's not just developers who pose a threat to biodiversity!

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    Oct 9, 2010 8:01 AM (in response to DavegB)
    Re: Is planting trees really an answer to anything?
    I must say that in todays day and age you always see people planting trees where ever possible perhaps without much thought as to what particular type and the local flora that is already there. Im not saying we shouldnt plant trees as  this can and does help replenish are "earths lungs" and encourage local wildlife to flourish. But maybe we have to put abit more thought into the whole process rather than just be seen to be "planting lots of trees".
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    Oct 10, 2010 8:29 AM (in response to DavegB)
    Re: Is planting trees really an answer to anything?

    In some ways you're right. Biodiversity is all about, well, diversity- a huge range of habitats and the adaptations the flora and fauna have to survive in them. By planting native, endemic, or important (where many birds get nectar from, for example) trees in the right habitats, they WILL help protect it- i.e. extending an existing forest might be a good place to start. But planting random trees in a wetland or grassland? That's like trying to plant lemon trees in the arctic! (pointless and a bit stupid). Also, a tree will take in CO2 when it is living, but when it dies, it releases CO2. So no, planting trees haphazardly isn't helping, it's making the loss of biodiversity increase!

    Conserving biodiversity is about preserving the habitats already there, AND about creating new ones (or expanding existing ones, such as creating 'corridors' between reserves in the UK, for example). I think environmental groups are just concerned at the rate at which important and vital forests, like the amazon rainforest, are disappearing- maybe people feel they have to replace the trees lost there by planting them there (the UK)?? I guess it's a case of thinking before you act.

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        Oct 17, 2010 4:33 PM (in response to DavegB)
        Re: Is planting trees really an answer to anything?

        I agree. Maybe it comes partly from the fact that without man's intervention, many endangered  animal species wouldn't have made it now? So people assume that everything else needs our 'help'?

        And yet some of the best habitats and conservation lands are parts of the world that have been untouched by man. I think its because we're stupid and selfish enough to think that just because we're the 'highest evolved mammal'  the world apparently can't turn without us? Who knows, but I think you're message is actually rather important to get across. People shouldn't always think they can just 'carbon offset' (or something) by planting a few trees,  they should take steps to avoid that amount of pollution in the first place, although I guess that saying you'll plant some trees is the easy way out to stop you feeling guilty about what man is doing to the natural world, or raise a company's 'green' credentials. Good conservation takes time, and patience is a virtue (that many of us don't have).

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    Oct 19, 2010 5:17 PM (in response to DavegB)
    Re: Is planting trees really an answer to anything?
    I think it is... somewhere it is a first step for people who wants to do something for environment. but definately its a cause for concern also! as I have observed it very closely that these days its going on mindlessly without even taking concern whether trees planted even suite the natural habitat or not, whether its local ( native) or invasive. In my opinion if tree plantation is done it must be taken care of that these trees are native to that particular habitat and also these trees should be taken care off till they cannot be left on there own. Than only the true meaning of planting a tree would be realised.
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