/ National Parks and Planting Trees

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pec 29 Nov 2019

Labour has announced plans to plant lots of trees if it wins the election, 2bn in the next 20 years.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/nov/28/labour-unveils-plan-to-plant-2bn-trees-in-next-20-years

Now that's one policy I can definitely get behind. Except that 2bn trees is a lot of trees to plant in 20 years, in fact thats 274,000 trees per day every day for 20 years. Knock off time to select sites, aquire land, prepare the land and bad weather days etc, is it actually possible to plant trees that fast? Is Dianne Abbot behind this one?

Depending on density (typically 1000 to 2500 trees per hectare) it would need between 3,100 and 7,700 square miles, for comparison, Wales is 8,000.

More seriously, what do folk think about 10 new National Parks?

Extra protection for landscapes is welcome but NP status brings problems with pressure of visitors, house prices etc.

I'm genuinely interested in a non partisan discussion on this one, I've had my fun above;-)

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Forester3 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

With regards to the tree planting, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head; nice idea, but where do they propose planting them all - discounting protected areas such as NPs, AONB, SSSIs etc. where large scale woodland creation probably couldn’t happen - I can’t imagine where all this surplus land is. And, even if planting on this scale did go ahead, these trees would need to be maintained until they are established, i.e. protected from competing vegetation and mammal browsing until they are no longer vulnerable - typically around 4 - 8 years, depending on species.

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Pefa 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

Having just watched the first bit of the C4 leaders climate debate and stopped crying at the Koala bear being burnt to death and the Orangutan being attacked by the bulldozer I couldn't give a flying f£$€ how the Labour Party get it done but the fact they have proposed such a desperate and massive task highlights that they are the only party worth trusting on our future.

Tories only care about not making their clown Prince look like the disaster he is to the viewers rather than get out there with real ambitious environmental targets that reflect the current scale of the greatest threat to mankind and all species. 

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mullermn 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

Presumably there's more to it than 'a tree is a tree' as well?

Presumably different trees affect their local area in different ways and change the balance of wildlife and soil etc differently, and you probably wouldn't want a complete monoculture for resilience against disease and aesthetic reasons aside from anything else.

As with a lot of the 2019 manifesto it sounds like a great intention but essentially impossible to achieve against the targets they've set for themselves.

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Pefa 29 Nov 2019
In reply to mullermn:

It shows a determination, an acknowledgement, a will, an awareness of the scale and critical importance that dwarfs everything else. The fine details can be worked out later. 

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MG 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

You do not really need to plant them. Just take sheep etc away and wait. So yes, easily possible. Switch subsidies to encourage this and Bob's your uncle. 

I think doing similar in the sea is also wise. A focus on just trees is unnecessary. 

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mullermn 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

Fine details, like whether it's remotely feasible? I mean, 274,000 trees every day for 20 years is not a little calculation error, it's pure numbers-from-ass territory.

Why not promise to plant 2 billion trees next year? Every fortnight? Tomorrow?

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

Without tree shelters I can plant about a 1000 in day. It's all about having the right gear, some basic logistics to get the boxes of saplings near where you plant (quad bike) and just grafting for a while. 

The problem will be the land acquisition. Unless you just say all national parks and get on with it. 

Plus you can't plant year round. Frozen ground, drought etc.. you have to stack the odds of sapling survival in your favour, so spring and autumn is planting season. 

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John Gresty 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

I have just re-read 'The man who planted trees' by Jean Giono,  originally published in 1954. A lovely story and very pertinent to this debate. 

John

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to mullermn:

Planting will be easy. The bit that's missing now are the nurseries that will grow the saplings from seed for 2-4 years before any planting can start. 

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The Wild Scallion 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

> Labour has announced plans to plant lots of trees if it wins the election, 2bn in the next 20 years.

> Now that's one policy I can definitely get behind. Except that 2bn trees is a lot of trees to plant in 20 years, in fact thats 274,000 trees per day every day for 20 years. Knock off time to select sites, aquire land, prepare the land and bad weather days etc, is it actually possible to plant trees that fast? Is Dianne Abbot behind this one?

> Depending on density (typically 1000 to 2500 trees per hectare) it would need between 3,100 and 7,700 square miles, for comparison, Wales is 8,000.

Do they all have to be in this country ?

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> It shows a determination, an acknowledgement, a will, an awareness of the scale and critical importance that dwarfs everything else. The fine details can be worked out later. 

An awareness!?.. McDonnell talked about it this morning, he probably doesn't know his tree from his elbow. Many Brits think Christmas trees are pines. 

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Pefa 29 Nov 2019
In reply to mullermn:

If 2 people ,yes just 2 people can plant 2 million trees in 20 years then what can an army of people working all the time, full time and with proper logistical support and government backing with funds do? 

https://www.demilked.com/couple-replant-forest-sebastiao-leila-salgado-reforestation/

Post edited at 08:31
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FactorXXX 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> If 2 people ,yes just 2 people can plant 2 million trees in 20 years then what can an army of people working all the time, full time and with proper logistical support and government backing with funds do? 
> https://www.demilked.com/couple-replant-forest-sebastiao-leila-salgado-reforestation/

As per your linked article, two people set up a team and planted the trees.
Still a magnificent effort though. 

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Pefa 29 Nov 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

And you think it worth a reply to state that it was a small team that did it? In the big scale of things does that really matter?

The financial resources of two photographers and a few people plant 2 million trees in 20 years compared to what a determined massive government budget an efficient army of people working full time and full logistical support can do. 

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mrphilipoldham 29 Nov 2019
In reply to mullermn:

Funny, isn't it? It was only a week or so ago that some bright spark figured out that to earn a £bn on an average salary would take something like 11,000 years and was therefore an obscene amount to have. Now we're on about planting that many trees in a mere 1/600 of the time and it's an achievable promise! 

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

Or you can go fully mechanized and machine plant on practically any terrain with one of these fitted to a normal forest machine, forwarded, standard caterpillar tracked digger.

https://www.brackeforest.com/products/planters-seeders/165-bracke-p11-a-planting-machine

Post edited at 09:02
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bigbobbyking 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

> Many Brits think Christmas trees are pines. 

I'm one of them. What is a pine? I thought it was just a generic word for an evergreen needle-covered tree. 

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stevieb 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

Well, Ethiopia has targeted 1 billion trees in one year. There are a few differences; much bigger country, more obvious motivation and probably less restrictive land ownership.

2 billion is optimistic, and the concentration on 'tree planting' by Labour or by carbon capture firms is over simplistic, because people relate easily to it.

One obvious location to start is the roadsides and railways of Britain. There are 2000 miles of motorway, probably more miles of dual carriageway and 10000 miles of railway. Trees and hedges alongside these have huge benefits; reducing air and noise pollution, wildlife corridors, water management, visual stimulation. This is making use of unused space, but does need managing to reduce fallen trees and leaves on the line. The highways agency used to plant 2m trees a year. I don't know if this is still the case.

Another location is 20m gardens. But I'm not sure how you can encourage people to have hedges instead of fences. And it's going to be pretty hard to create new build estates with hedge boundaries.

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mullermn 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

An impressive achievement, definitely.

That article does contain a snippet that supports the questions I raised in my first post though:

“You need forest with native trees, and you need to gather the seeds in the same region you plant them or the serpents and the termites won’t come. And if you plant forests that don’t belong, the animals don’t come there and the forest is silent.”

We have a very dense little ecosystem in this country. The management task alone to work out what needs to be/can be planted where can't be trivial? (ecological issues are well out of my area of expertise so this is pure fag-packet speculation on my part).

Let's hope the logistical support and government backing are a bit more effective than they are here: "Reading Borough Council accidentally chops down 800 trees". https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-50480114

That's a week's work for Mr Salgado straight away.

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pec 29 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> You do not really need to plant them. Just take sheep etc away and wait. So yes, easily possible. Switch subsidies to encourage this and Bob's your uncle. 

Is that possible in the 20 year time frame and is it politically possible? Genuine question, I really would like to see more trees.

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pec 29 Nov 2019
In reply to The Wild Scallion:

> Do they all have to be in this country ?


Interesting point, trees planted anywhere will have a global benefit, less so for enhancing our own environment.

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Lusk 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

We choose to attempt to save the planet not because it's easy, but because it's hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to bigbobbyking:

> I'm one of them. What is a pine? I thought it was just a generic word for an evergreen needle-covered tree. 

Keeping it simple... pine, think of your native Scots pine, reddish or rusty coloured bark, branches only towards the top. Spruces are your Xmas trees.  

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pec 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

Some interesting thoughts. It seems physically planting trees isn't the issue, identifying suitable land, aquiring it and managing it is the issue. Still, its one Labour policy I can support in principal and wish them luck with.

No thoughts yet on 10 new National Parks?

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wbo2 29 Nov 2019
In reply to several posters here:  it's easy to criticise - what do you propose.? 

I dont see why they should be in National Parks although it's a good idea.  But surely the various recent spates of flooding outside national parks means there might be other locations that would benefit 

Post edited at 09:45
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Pefa 29 Nov 2019
In reply to mullermn:

> An impressive achievement, definitely.

> That article does contain a snippet that supports the questions I raised in my first post though:

> “You need forest with native trees, and you need to gather the seeds in the same region you plant them or the serpents and the termites won’t come. And if you plant forests that don’t belong, the animals don’t come there and the forest is silent.”

> We have a very dense little ecosystem in this country. The management task alone to work out what needs to be/can be planted where can't be trivial? (ecological issues are well out of my area of expertise so this is pure fag-packet speculation on my part).

All excellent points which I was unaware of. 

> Let's hope the logistical support and government backing are a bit more effective than they are here: "Reading Borough Council accidentally chops down 800 trees". https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-50480114

> That's a week's work for Mr Salgado straight away.

Mistakes do happen I suppose. 

If Indians can plant 220 million trees in 1 day what can we do 10 years. 

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — More than a million Indians planted 220 million trees on Friday in a government campaign to tackle climate change and improve the environment in the country’s most populous state.

Forest official Bivhas Ranjan said students, lawmakers, officials and others planted dozens of species of saplings Friday along roads, rail tracks and in forest lands in northern Uttar Pradesh state. The target of 220 million saplings was achieved by 5 p.m.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/india-plant-trees-220-million_n_5d501f43e4b0fc06ace91e2a

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Moley 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

I do have serious concerns about the achievability of this in the UK. Some of the obvious practical problems have been mentioned and the logistics are immense. Getting planters to remote sites takes time and transport (and labour will have instigated their 32 hour working week, presumably). Although the figures break down to xxx trees planted per day, you only plant certain months of the year (through the winter basically) so that doubles the numbers immediately. This is based on planting commercial sized whips, as soon as you include saplings for urban areas that is very slow.

Do these figures include current annual planting, replacement for felled forestry, or all new? Hell of a lot of employment to finance, deer fencing, rabbit, hare and deer control where needed? Thinning starts after a few years, or spraying, accommodation for the work force in some areas? 

A nice idea, but like many things politicians say, I will believe it if I see it in my lifetime.

Post edited at 09:46
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The Wild Scallion 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

> Interesting point, trees planted anywhere will have a global benefit, less so for enhancing our own environment.

I thought so.

Some companies , like toilet roll manufacturers promote or at least I think I've seen the promoting of  planting tree's to replace ones used .  

I think it's a great idea personally.  

Post edited at 09:54
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MG 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

There are large areas of moorland that could be returned to forest very easily. I think issues are vested interests from current landowners (particularly shooting) and effects on other wildlife.  Most of the Pennines, for example.

I visit New England quite regularly.  This was largely cleared of forest by 19th century but in many areas the cleared land was subsequently abandoned and has returned to forest naturally.  There are old dry stone walls from former farms running in to the trees everywhere.  The same could happen here very easily within 30-50 years if encouraged.

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MargieB 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

Having been actively encouraging the Scottish Forestry Commission who owns massive acreage around me, to look at their policy of a pine industry with clear-felling as the 25 year routine, the complexity of this process of tree planting involves a major policy change by a state body. It involves a geater understanding of ecology and tree diversity, it involves an acitive shift in not just allowing regrowth of natives by wind generation , with only minimal human interference by cuttting out the regrowth of the previous pine . It involves a whole cultural shift in these bodies. I look out of my window and see the State have achieved quite a bit of diverse forest in 13 years, but nowhere fast enough.

I also see the top of estates, barren and bare - and that is high- land ownership and takes a huge shift.The mountain in gaelic is called the mountain of the hazel wood- not a hazel in sight!!

Other methodologies of tree planting other than hand planting or natural re-growth need to be investigated. EG I heard of spaying seed on newly harvested clear felled muddy areas to speed up the regrowth time scales which are very slow in scotland.

Also intensive sheep grazing to remove grass which inhibits early tree growth and establishment , re-seed and move on sheep.

Post edited at 10:29
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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

> No thoughts yet on 10 new National Parks?

Just replant the existing ones. 

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RJ7 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

I just hope that, if this target is even achievable, they don't hand it over to some bollocks committee that hasn't got a clue. Frankly i'd rather they give whatever budget they've come up with for the project to The Woodland Trust. They at least know our woodlands and species inside out and would at least have an idea of how to implement this properly. 

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MG 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

I'd say NPs as we currently have them are unconnected to tree planting, and probably not a priority. 

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jkarran 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

> Now that's one policy I can definitely get behind. Except that 2bn trees is a lot of trees to plant in 20 years, in fact thats 274,000 trees per day every day for 20 years. Knock off time to select sites, aquire land, prepare the land and bad weather days etc, is it actually possible to plant trees that fast? Is Dianne Abbot behind this one?

Trees plant themselves. That can be speeded up of course with artificial seeding or planting of saplings in the early years but what they really need is the space to grow and the control of predators. They need safe space to get started.

> Depending on density (typically 1000 to 2500 trees per hectare) it would need between 3,100 and 7,700 square miles, for comparison, Wales is 8,000.

Interesting, I'd not done the sums and was imagining significantly more land would be needed. We have a lot of bare uplands, we have a lot of stripped hedgerows and endless interconnected fields which would benefit from sheltering copses. I do hope I live to see Britain with forests.

> More seriously, what do folk think about 10 new National Parks?

Where? Can't see a problem with it conceptually.

> Extra protection for landscapes is welcome but NP status brings problems with pressure of visitors, house prices etc.

How we manage those issues is a choice. The problem isn't the NP status per se it's how we choose to view and mange the parks. People would still buy second homes in the Lakes or Dales or Dartmoor if they weren't national parks for the very reason they are parks, they're extraordinary places. NP status needn't a barrier to dealing with these issues. As is, parks preserved in aspic with prohibitive policies and attitudes limiting new development to near zero while the value of existing property soars driven by scarcity and redevelopment/conversions, that doesn't work. Parks preserved as mid-20th century open air living museums only work while people can live in and make a living from that land and the ways of life that shaped it.

jk

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to jkarran:

Most of the UK uplands have been treeless for too long to rewild naturally rapidly. You could save 10-20years by planting. You could plant thinly to allow natural regeneration in the gaps and you don't have to plant an area in one push. You can revisit annually with different species. Water courses will perhaps need modifying to reduce drainage, create marshes, dams, ponds again. 

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jkarran 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

> Most of the UK uplands have been treeless for too long to rewild naturally rapidly.

Nothing grows rapidly in the hills, that's just a function of harsh conditions which do get better as cover establishes.

> You could save 10-20years by planting. You could plant thinly to allow natural regeneration in the gaps and you don't have to plant an area in one push.

Yes, that is exactly the point I was making.

> Water courses will perhaps need modifying to reduce drainage, create marshes, dams, ponds again. 

Some, yes.

jk

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MargieB 29 Nov 2019
In reply to RJ7:

Oh yes, you are so right!!. If you have a state body that has an "industry " of monoculture for paper production, I can tell you for a fact and through experience  they have absolutely no idea of the reason for tree diversity say in regards to water acidifying and the needs of water habitats.The workers and managers around me have little knowledge of tree identification of native species. !!To try and evolve any sort of culture in tree planting that is just a knowledge gap that needs filling. Strangely it is the heavy rain land erosion of recent years and the cost to infrastructure eg roads, that really hits home.

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mullermn 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

> You could plant thinly to allow natural regeneration in the gaps and you don't have to plant an area in one push. You can revisit annually with different species

I would assume this would be well understood by anyone doing this sort of thing these days. Apparently not so much a hundred years ago. I live next to a nice early-1900's park where the council have recently had to cut down perfectly good trees in order to make space to plant new trees because otherwise all the trees in the park are going to reach the end of their lifespan at the same time and It'll go from a nice mature park to a field in very short order.

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to jkarran:

> Nothing grows rapidly in the hills, that's just a function of harsh conditions which do get better as cover establishes.

Of course. But because it's decades since there were mature trees there isn't the seed stock in the ground to suddenly sprout when you remove the grazing animals. 

The UK hill climate isn't as severe as some make out. You get trees, albeit stunted in growth, up to 900m in the nordics where it is cold enough for the ski season to have already started 2-3 weeks ago. 

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to mullermn:

> I would assume this would be well understood by anyone doing this sort of thing these days. Apparently not so much a hundred years ago. I live next to a nice early-1900's park where the council have recently had to cut down perfectly good trees in order to make space to plant new trees because otherwise all the trees in the park are going to reach the end of their lifespan at the same time and It'll go from a nice mature park to a field in very short order.

Think I'll offer to consult ukgov for a crazy fee as this is effectively my day job at times. Doing stuff next week with Swedish forest research institute to do with spot harvesting, where you target trees by maturity, sze, re-plant smaller areas and create a mini mosaic. As opposed to whole area clear felling. Lots of environmental benefits and it reduces damage by pests, with no loss of timber production. Slightly more time on the ground surveying and marking, but that's the only cost, but you can do that in the summer when most aren't felling. 

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MG 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

> Of course. But because it's decades since there were mature trees there isn't the seed stock in the ground to suddenly sprout when you remove the grazing animals. 

No, but you don't need much.  Just up from me a mooorland area was fenced of 5 years ago and planted with scattered trees.  This are now producing self-seeded offspring in the gaps.  Within 10 years there will be a rapidly maturing forest.  Similarly with water coruses.  Black Hill has gone from being err, black, to fully vegetated in a few years with just some work slowing runoff - really basic stuff.  Moors for the Future are doing great work

https://www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk/

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jimtitt 29 Nov 2019
In reply to MargieB:

> Oh yes, you are so right!!. If you have a state body that has an "industry " of monoculture for paper production, I can tell you for a fact and through experience  they have absolutely no idea of the reason for tree diversity say in regards to water acidifying and the needs of water habitats.The workers and managers around me have little knowledge of tree identification of native species. !!To try and evolve any sort of culture in tree planting that is just a knowledge gap that needs filling. Strangely it is the heavy rain land erosion of recent years and the cost to infrastructure eg roads, that really hits home.


However this is the quandary, is this planting to produce a vaguely natural ecosystem or to sequester CO2? The two aren't realistically compatible so an uneasy compromise will have to be decided on by someone.

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

Just depends on the age and maturity of what you plant. Small 2+1 saplings versus 2m trees for ten times the cost. Economics comes into it. 

Better to do it properly otherwise there is a risk of evasive species taking over. 

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MG 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

> Just depends on the age and maturity of what you plant. Small 2+1 saplings versus 2m trees for ten times the cost. Economics comes into it. 

Not really - these were twigs initially.

> Better to do it properly otherwise there is a risk of evasive species taking over. 

Yes, there is always the danger of forests disappearing.  It's a worry.

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DancingOnRock 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

The National Forest are well on their way to 9bn in the last 25 years. That’s a charity planting on land that was barren. 
 

I don’t think 20bn is unachievable. I do wonder whether 20bn would actually make as much impact on CO2 as people envisage. 
 

I think it’s a great idea, aim for 20bn maybe get 2bn done. Even if we only plant 3 trees for each person your on about 0.2bn.

Post edited at 13:22
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DancingOnRock 29 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

Turn the moor into woodland. Introduce wild boar and hunt them instead. Everyone’s happy. Even the tree huggers, who get more trees to hug, they’ll just have to avoid the aggressive squealing animals. 

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jkarran 29 Nov 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> However this is the quandary, is this planting to produce a vaguely natural ecosystem or to sequester CO2? The two aren't realistically compatible so an uneasy compromise will have to be decided on by someone.

One doesn't prevent you doing the other if both can be made of more value than the activities they displace, whether that's as fast maturing building material or as social and environmental assets.

jk

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jimtitt 29 Nov 2019
In reply to jkarran:

Naturally one can do both but then you are compromising on the objectives and achieving neither to the optimum. It's red squirrels against global warming.

Post edited at 13:37
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jkarran 29 Nov 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> Naturally one can do both but then you are compromising on the objectives and achieving neither to the optimum. It's red squirrels against global warming.

Everything we do is a compromise, always has been, always will be.

jk

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In reply to pec:

Turn Scotland back into a forest again. Reintroduce wolves to protect the trees from deer. Remove livestock and retrain the farmers for hemp and bean production. Turn our prisons into tree nurseries. Rewild the f#@& outta GB

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Tom V 29 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

>  I think issues are vested interests from current landowners (particularly shooting) and effects on other wildlife. 

Another issue might be that a sizeable segment of the population actually enjoy and appreciate the moors in the same way as others enjoy the Lakes District and Snowdonia.

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Tom V 29 Nov 2019
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Well I suppose freeing all the prisoners to make way for tree farming might go some way towards a wilder environment.

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toad 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> Another issue might be that a sizeable segment of the population actually enjoy and appreciate the moors in the same way as others enjoy the Lakes District and Snowdonia.

This could very well be true. I enjoy and appreciate my diesel car, but its unlikely i will buy another one.

Landscape scale changes are inevitable, and tree planting will be a part of those changes. There have been very promising results in terms of flood attenuation, from some of the Cumbrian planting. 

People adapt very quickly to aesthetic environmental change. Look at the protests we see when felling of very young plantations is proposed for heathland re-creation (to take one example) These areas have been woodland for less than 50 years and already people are invested in that landscape. We will see a similar ownership of increased upland tree planting very quickly. Particularly as those of us who bore witness to the change in landscape die off.

Post edited at 15:36
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jimtitt 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> Well I suppose freeing all the prisoners to make way for tree farming might go some way towards a wilder environment.


Who said anything about freeing them, where do you think the labour to plant the trees is coming from? Britain has a world leader in prisoner restraints so a few hundred thousand chains will be a welcome boost to the economy

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Moley 29 Nov 2019
In reply to toad:

On a slightly optimistic note, although we may not have the % tree coverage of other European countries,   we are 13% and  it is worth noting that only  a century ago we only had 5% coverage. Think I read somewhere that we are at our highest since 1700s.

The impression many have is that we are cutting everything down, whereas we are slowly creeping up in tree coverage. In my valley people take the mature trees for granted, yet a look at old photos shows a land virtually denuded of any trees or woods, a very different landscape in 100 years.

I will be interested to see how this pans out, long after I am dead and gone, but I still consider that amount of tree planting in that time span a complex problem if it is to succeed.

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elsewhere 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

> Most of the UK uplands have been treeless for too long to rewild naturally rapidly. You could save 10-20years by planting. You could plant thinly to allow natural regeneration in the gaps and you don't have to plant an area in one push. You can revisit annually with different species. Water courses will perhaps need modifying to reduce drainage, create marshes, dams, ponds again. 

Probably cheaper than improving flood defences downstream too.

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Siward 29 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

It's going to require planting in the uplands isn't it? All of those empty grouse moors, the Pennines and the like. That would be good to prevent flooding but would involve loss of some much loved vistas too.

I should have read the thread below the post I was replying to - the point has been made. Move along now... 

Post edited at 16:46
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pec 29 Nov 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> However this is the quandary, is this planting to produce a vaguely natural ecosystem or to sequester CO2? The two aren't realistically compatible so an uneasy compromise will have to be decided on by someone.


That's an interesting point. In principal most of us would like to see native broad leaved woodland but rapid growing conifers might take up CO2 faster.

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toad 29 Nov 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> Probably cheaper than improving flood defences downstream too.

I fear we need both, at least in the short term

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Dave B 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

If you planted these how many would be expected to make it to maturity, normally?

Half? Or is that optimistic? Would make a difference to the land needed...

My guess its about 2000 people planting and probably a few thousand more would be needed to do back office, purchasing etc etc world be needed. What do others think? 

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summo 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Dave B:

> If you planted these how many would be expected to make it to maturity, normally?

> Half? Or is that optimistic? Would make a difference to the land needed...

The failure rate of good seedlings should be very low, single figure percentages. 

In open forest a few will become bushes not trees if they are persistently grazed before they get tall enough to be beyond the reach of animals. Tree shelters would protect the base from rabbits and hares. 

A few failures are Ok, natural space for  clearings. You could then thin or clear at 10, 30, 60 years to create the kind of mature forest you desire.

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felt 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

> Spruces are your Xmas trees.  

They used to be, but apart from the Norway spruce in Trafalgar Square etc, most in the UK are now Abies nordmanniana, a fir. Much less needle drop in centrally heated houses

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Moley 29 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

> .......... Tree shelters would protect the base from rabbits and hares. 

Which takes us neatly to tree guards, 2 billion plastic tree guards (no brownie points there)? Or 2 billion more expensive biodegradable tree guards?

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Moley 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Dave B:

> If you planted these how many would be expected to make it to maturity, normally?

> Half? Or is that optimistic? Would make a difference to the land needed...

> My guess its about 2000 people planting and probably a few thousand more would be needed to do back office, purchasing etc etc world be needed. What do others think? 

In the UK much depends on planting time,   tree species, soil type and weather following planting (also pests etc). Sandy soil that drains fast, Highlands or lowlands, chalk, peat that holds moisture and so on. You may plant in February on ground that drains and have a dry couple of months - big losses, then It is normal to replant the next year if necessary, "beating up" we called it, so covering the ground again. May also have a good, mild, damp spring and summer that  result in negligible losses and the trees are away.

Quite honestly, in some areas one could go from fantastic to disaster, all depending on conditions outside our control. It is just like farming and trying to make hay, win some, lose some.

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balmybaldwin 30 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

As an idea, could this be linked to law and order policy, where all "community service" sentences are spent planting trees? Those who can't do the physical stuff can do the organisational stuff. 

Consider relieving prison crowding by getting lower level short sentence criminals to do the same?

Could even consider it a form of national service (people keep saying the yoof need something like this)

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FactorXXX 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> And you think it worth a reply to state that it was a small team that did it? In the big scale of things does that really matter?
> The financial resources of two photographers and a few people plant 2 million trees in 20 years compared to what a determined massive government budget an efficient army of people working full time and full logistical support can do. 

Your original post stated that two people alone had planted those trees which is factually incorrect to a massive degree. 
If you Google the team involved (Instituto Terra) , then it is a bit more than 'a few people' and the photos in your linked article seems to suggest a sizeable and coordinated set up.
Not decrying the efforts of Sebastião Salgado and Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado as they've been absolutely monumental.
What I will question however is your motivation to quote such stories to defend/support your political ideals as you do seem to have a tendency to cherry pick... 
 

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summo 30 Nov 2019
In reply to felt:

> They used to be, but apart from the Norway spruce in Trafalgar Square etc, most in the UK are now Abies nordmanniana, a fir. Much less needle drop in centrally heated houses

Indeed. As i said simply early, as they are all in the Pinaceae family anyway. 

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Billhook 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Moley:

I've noticed the lack of trees too on old photographs around the Whitby area 100 years ago.

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Billhook 30 Nov 2019
In reply to pec:

Our national park, like all the others doesn't own more than a couple of car parks unfortunately.

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felt 30 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

Aye right

When I did forestry at Bangor we had a Tsuga as a Christmas tree; often thought since that that's the nicest in that role

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hokkyokusei 30 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> I'd say NPs as we currently have them are unconnected to tree planting, and probably not a priority. 

So why don't we start there, and change that?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/25/rewilding-britains-rainforest-planting-trees

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summo 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Billhook:

> Our national park, like all the others doesn't own more than a couple of car parks unfortunately.

It's easy to influence though as government controls planning regulations in them. It could be changed over night, there will of course be complaints. 

Post Brexit drop all subsidies for unfarmed uplands ie. Grouse moors. Replace it with something that encourages rewilding and planting, with a caveat of improved public access.  

Mid height sheep farmers can also be encouraged to start planting a few percent of their land every year. A slow transition with financial support.

Valleys. End mono culture grass land. Reduce stock density, penalised wrapped silage making. Encourage mixed forest and grassland grazing. Meat consumption will decline in time anyway so better to get ahead of the game now.

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summo 30 Nov 2019
In reply to felt:

> When I did forestry at Bangor we had a Tsuga as a Christmas tree; often thought since that that's the nicest in that role

All evergreens, which correlates with celebrating the winter solstice. 

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Billhook 30 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

I couldn't agree more.  Even though I absolutely love my NP and the wild open moorland and am also a volunteer, nothing would give me as much pleasure as seeing it return to broadleaf woodland - as it once was.

Due to change in farming here (reduction in sheep numbers)  there are quite a few moorland areas which are slowly becoming forested naturally because there are   near-by 'donor' trees.  But I've also noticed that due to increased profitability of grouse shooting that most of the estates have increased rotational burning off - so this will limit any natural spreading of woodland.

(I'd have thought a potted Korean Fir would make a nice tame reusable Xmas tree myself ;-)

Post edited at 12:08
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Toerag 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Moley:

> On a slightly optimistic note, although we may not have the % tree coverage of other European countries,   we are 13% and  it is worth noting that only  a century ago we only had 5% coverage. Think I read somewhere that we are at our highest since 1700s.

> The impression many have is that we are cutting everything down, whereas we are slowly creeping up in tree coverage. In my valley people take the mature trees for granted, yet a look at old photos shows a land virtually denuded of any trees or woods, a very different landscape in 100 years.

You're completely correct. In 'the old days' you had people using wood for all sorts of things which use other materials now (ships, railway sleepers, pit props, charcoal, fencing, furniture etc.) and people worked the land where they lived in cottage farming industries and subsistence farming. Then you had WW2 where all the trees in axis-controlled Europe were cut down for the war effort and synthesising fuel. Essentially the monoculture 'pine forests' in the Alps are mostly post-war.

I suspect the way forward will be to plant fast-growing conifers to create shelter to grow the slower-growing 'local' species.  The fast growers can then be felled for biomass fuel / timber once the natural species are established. This is what's being done in the German State forests at present.  The problem with forestry is the need to look at the long term, and with climate change it's difficult to know what to plant, because what grows well today may not in the future when it's warmer/colder/drier/wetter.

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summo 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Toerag:

Yes and no. Most of the UK forests were chopped down hundreds of years, oaks for ships etc..  ww1 saw the last big cull and the formation of the forestry commission in 1919 to start replenishing the losses. Obviously just 20 years later ww2 there wasn't really much more new wood to go at, so existing mature wood took another hit. Metal was much more in demand than wood in ww2. 

Ian Nial wrote a book called the forester. The life story of James Shaw, a forester who started life in Scotland, saw two wars, various forestry jobs and eventually settled in north Wales over seeing the planting and management of what is now all the forest around betws and the Conway valley. It's a good read. He retired in the area, but of course is no longer alive. 

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daWalt 30 Nov 2019
In reply to All

while were on about trees, what the wide wide world of arboriculture is going on here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-50600816

I'm well on board with clearing rododendrons, but beech isn't native?..... (not trying to hijack the thread, honest)

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Irk the Purist 30 Nov 2019
In reply to hokkyokusei:

If you let trees take over the national parks they won't be worth protecting anymore. Many of them host unique habitats for rare species, and woodland is not a rare habitat.

It's better to reforest outside national parks, expand existing woodlands, get trees in our parkland again, gardens, verges, scrubland etc. 

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summo 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Irk the Purist:

> If you let trees take over the national parks they won't be worth protecting anymore. Many of them host unique habitats for rare species, and woodland is not a rare habitat.

99.9% of UK are not unique or rare, there are 1000s of hectares of mono culture. Most diversity has been destroyed by human intervention. 

> verges, scrubland etc. 

Many of these probably have more diversity of species than many national parks. 

Some NPs have small pockets that are housing genuinely native terrain, these are easily identified and left to be managed as they already are. Most already have sssi status.  

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Moley 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Irk the Purist:

I agree and whatever is implemented there will be massive compromises to be accepted by many parties.

Even in my very small world of red squirrel conservation, we have come into conflict (we don't actually have conflict, just discussions) with fisheries wanting to plant trees up river valleys for benefit of endangered migratory fish (shade to keep spawning waters cooler due to global warming). Us not wanting tree corridors for grey squirrels to invade remote red squirrel areas.

Liming of our upland streams that have had the pH of vinegar, partly due to commercial forestry, unfortunately this acidic water favours some bankside mosses or lichens (I forget exactly what), so the moss people within the wildlife trusts are against that.

I give these as very small local examples of single issue interests that will all be fighting their corners not to be compromised during a mass tree planting scheme. 

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wintertree 01 Dec 2019
In reply to Irk the Purist:

> Many of them host unique habitats for rare species, and woodland is not a rare habitat

There are hundreds of square miles of AONB near me, and almost no established broadleaf forest.  There’s probably 50x the moorland AONB and NP in County Durham and Cumbria than establish deciduous forest.

Theres a lot of trees in Britain but most of it isn’t even a shadow of a real wooded environment.  The closest to me are pit heaps that have been planted for 20 years - give them another century and they could start to get there.

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Doug 01 Dec 2019
In reply to wintertree:

and some types of woodland are 'rare habitat'

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bouldery bits 01 Dec 2019
In reply to pec:

I actually don't want trees planted in certain places. Don't cover Cat Bells in trees. I will defend my places.

Our high places have value as open spaces. 

There's a place for trees but a place for open spaces aswell. Dartmoor, for example, is not a natural landscape, but has been largely deforested by man over many many centuries. It is an entirely synthetic landscape but is vitally important as it is. I would be greatly saddened to see the Moor planted over with acidic, coniferous forest as a vote winner for middle class townies with no real idea of the consequences of such an action.

Post edited at 11:01
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johncook 01 Dec 2019
In reply to stevieb:

Unfortunately safety concerns have resulted in the removal of trees/shrubs from the sides of railways and roads and from close to houses (due to the risk of root damage to foundations.) How are we going to get over these problems to allow more planting in these places?

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summo 01 Dec 2019
In reply to bouldery bits:

> There's a place for trees but a place for open spaces aswell. Dartmoor, for example, is not a natural landscape... I would be greatly saddened to see the Moor planted over with acidic, coniferous forest as a vote winner for middle class townies with no real idea of the consequences of such an action.

Dartmoor already has very acidic soil, mainly through the weathering of granite, ryholite has a similar effect. Limestone and chalk for example increase alkalinity. 

Yes harvesting of some forest can increase it too. Mainly caused by rapid rotting down of needles from all the branches left behind, spruce are one of the worst. Birch and Scots pine for example are many order of magnitude better. Most deciduous trees are much better (different leaf composition to evergreens). 

If you plant with the goal of carbon trapping then there won't be any significant harvesting of any species for 70-80 years, so you are unlikely to see any change in acidity. 

Plus, because the acidity is natural from granite weathering the plant life there will suited to it. Just as plants in limestone areas will differ due to increased alkalinity in those soils. If you have differing bed rocks down a long slope you'll even see the species change with their preferences for soil types. 

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bouldery bits 01 Dec 2019
In reply to summo:

That's nice.

Don't plant trees on my Moor. 

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Pefa 01 Dec 2019
In reply to johncook:

Personally I don't like the idea of trees next to roads as trees will encourage wildlife to go there for protection but a road is probably the most dangerous place for wildlife that you can think of. 

We passed a huge big roundabout down Ayrshire way this year that was one of those massive ones you get by motorway /dual carriageway intersections and it was shaped like a hill and densely covered in trees and I couldn't help but think "what the hell good is that to wee animals", they come out the sanctuary of the trees to get crushed and it is surrounded so no way to avoid it. 

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wintertree 01 Dec 2019
In reply to bouldery bits:

> That's nice.

> Don't plant trees on my Moor. 

If we don’t plant a lot of trees soon, it won’t be moor for much longer.

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bouldery bits 01 Dec 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> If we don’t plant a lot of trees soon, it won’t be moor for much longer.

This is a fair point. The Moor is a special place to me and this has elicited an emotional response. 

The trees have to go somewhere. I'm being a NIMBY I guess.

Post edited at 13:11
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toad 01 Dec 2019
In reply to bouldery bits:

Climate change is no respecter of demographic boundaries. I’ve never been a fan of the townies don’t understand argument, mostly because I’ve known a lot of farmers and “countrymen” over the years ( several I was related to) who aren’t that clued up on how the natural environment works.

And the impacts of CC won’t stop at the parish boundary stone, we have to take steps to mitigate heating at the  local, regional, national and international levels, which means landscape change, be it different crops, increased tree cover, or changing land use for wider benefits ( like flood mitigation or sustainable power generation). We have got ourselves into this mess, we can’t complain about the taste of the medicine

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Tom V 01 Dec 2019
In reply to bouldery bits:

I would hope that in the event of a massive planting program it could be done sympathetically by adding to existing plantations in valley bottoms and expanding upwards from there, having a locally assessed  and agreed contour limit beyond which the moor tops could be left undisturbed for the enjoyment of generations to come. 

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Duncan Bourne 01 Dec 2019
In reply to pec:

that works out at around 384615 a day for a 5 day week not including bank holidays.

The goverment reckons on a fit inexperienced person being able to plant 1000 to 3000 seedlings per day. Which having done it professionally for 40 odd years is bollocks. I would say that 800 whips over an 8 hour day is a more reasonable estimate.

so you would need 481 people (rounding up) working 8 hours every working week for 20 years to get it done.

on the other hand. You could just leave nature to do its stuff

Post edited at 17:45
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AllanMac 02 Dec 2019
In reply to pec: For trees to survive beyond saplings they need protection from grazing ruminants (like deer and sheep). Tree guards and fencing can amount to an enormous expense. Then there are factors like squirrel damage (greys, not reds), whose numbers require strict control, but again can be expensive. These measures are our somewhat futile attempts to compensate for the lack of predatory species like wolves, lynx and bear that once existed in a properly balanced ecosystem. Reintroduction of these species should be what we are aiming for, if tree planting/succession to sustainable forest is to be achieved. But alas, livestock farmers may not agree.

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