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Don’t give forestry grants to landowners clearing out tenants


Don’t give forestry grants to landowners clearing out tenants.

Stop landowners removing people from farms or demanding they buy or quit because he can obtain vast sums of public funding to plant commercial forestry instead through the Forestry Grant Scheme.

Why is this important?

The Scottish Government is currently promoting the increase of forestry by awarding huge sums of money through the Forestry Grant Scheme. But this is being abused by some landowners.

Currently landlords are in a position to legally evict tenants, who are in non-secure leases through no fault of their own, and then obtain large sums of money from the Scottish public purse to plant trees on viable agricultural land.

Every farm unit that closes means a loss of livelihood to the tenants, a loss of tenant farmers for Scotland, a loss of farming diversity in a country with the most concentrated pattern of land ownership in the developed world, and a loss of people, skills and trade for fragile rural economies.

I first became aware of this when good friends who had farmed as managers for a previous tenant for 8 years, and a further 10 years in their own right, were abruptly told that their lease would not be renewed and their farming ground would be turned over to trees. I have witnessed at first hand how their lives have been devastated. All attempts to negotiate an extension have been handled appallingly by the landlord’s estate and even the intervention of MSPs, the new Land Commission, and the local Tenants Association, have failed to halt the imminent eviction.

What’s the difference between a wood and a forest?


It’s important to remember the importance of our forests and woods. They have a direct impact on the environment and climate and are home to an array of flora, fauna and fungi. Not only do they have a huge environmental value, they are also incredibly important both economically and socially.

What’s the difference between woods and forests?

The modern day understanding of the term ‘forest’ refers to an area of wooded land, but this has not always been the case. The original medieval meaning was similar to a ‘preserve’, for example land that is legally kept for specific purposes such as royal hunting. Therefore ‘forests’ were areas large enough to support species such as wolves and deer for game hunting and they encompassed other habitats such as heaths, open grassland and farmland.

The term woodland is also considered to be land covered with trees and vegetation, but in the UK woods tend to not be as large as forests. For example, Loch Arkaig pine forest in the Highlands of Scotland is 2,500 acres, while St. John’s Woods in Devon is just three acres.

One of the UK’s most significant remaining fragments of native Caledonian pinewood, Loch Arkaig Pine Forest is 2,500 acres (Photo: John MacPherson/WTML)

One of the UK’s most significant remaining fragments of native Caledonian pinewood, Loch Arkaig Pine Forest is 2,500 acres (Photo: John MacPherson/WTML)

Why are woods and forests important?

Woods and forests are incredibly important. They provide a range of ecosystem services that are vital for our survival. They also provide homes to thousands of native species from mammals to invertebrates, and birds to fungi. It is important to protect this biodiversity for future generations to enjoy and to maintain healthy, functioning ecosystems. Yet our woods are under ever increasing pressures from human induced climate change, introduced pests and diseases and loss to developments.

In 2017, the Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched so that people in the UK could articulate the importance of trees in their lives. The resulting Tree Charter sets out 10 principles with the aim to sustain, create, celebrate and protect treed landscapes whilst making sure that the roles trees play in our lives are visible and realised in policy and practice across the UK.

Forests and sustainable cities

The theme of this year’s International Forest Day is ‘forests and sustainable cities’. Trees provide multiple benefits and can make our cities greener, healthier, happier places to live.

In urban environments trees can have a cooling effect on the surrounding area, making them effective at reducing the urban heat island effect. Trees reduce surface and air temperatures through evapotranspiration and by casting shade. They can also improve the air quality in these urban environments by removing dangerous pollutants.

Trees are also a store of carbon and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, one of the major greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change. Planting more trees and maintaining and protecting those that we already have is hugely important in these times of changing climate.

Trees can make our cities greener, healthier, happier places to live (Photo: Nick Spurling/WTML)

Trees can make our cities greener, healthier, happier places to live (Photo: Nick Spurling/WTML)

Woods and forests can be a good source of renewable fuel, as well as a source of nuts and fruit for food. However, it’s important that they are managed in an ecologically sustainable way so that the resource is available for future generations.

Other woodland habitats

There are many different types of woods and forest in the UK. From the magical Atlantic oakwoods of the west to the hornbeam coppice woods of the south and east, each is varied and complex, influenced by geology, soils, climate and history. You can learn more about the different habitats here.

This International Day of Forests, take some time to think about the importance of woods and forests and what they mean to us.


Source: woodlandtrust.org.uk

51 Weird and Wonderful Facts About Wood


Wood must be one of humanity’s oldest natural resources. It has helped keep us safe, comfortable and warm for millions of years. But trees graced our beautiful blue planet long before our ancestors were a twinkle in the universe’s eye. Imagine a world with absolutely no human-generated noise, mess or disruption, just endless seas of gently-waving trees and plants as far as the eye can see. It would be a splendid and moving sight.

We’ve used wood for so long that most of us don’t really ‘see’ it any more. It’s part of the cultural scenery. But in the same way the starry night sky blows your mind with its eternal vastness, looking at a tree with fresh eyes brings its miraculous nature back into focus: enormous, powerful plants whose origins lie way back in the depths of geological time, some of which live literally thousands of years. If trees could tell a story, what would they say?

In May 2014 the Weird and Wonderful wood festival took place in Haughley Park in Suffolk, a celebration of wood in all its glory. More than a hundred artists, craftspeople and musicians gathered to reveal their skills and passions to a keen-to-learn and fascinated public, a sign that our relationship with the planet’s biggest plants still means a great deal to us.

We thought it’d be interesting to hook out a bunch of fascinating, weird and wonderful facts about wood and the trees it comes from. Enjoy!

51 facts about trees – Weird and wonderful wood

  1. Wood is made up of a combination of living, dying, and dead cells.
  2. The world’s shortest tree is the dwarf willow, which lives in northerly and Arctic Tundra regions and rarely grows more than a couple of inches high.
  3. The tallest trees can grow as high as 100 metres, more than 320 feet. They include the Coast Redwood, Giant Sequoia, Sitka Spruce and Australian Mountain Ash.
  4. The world’s tallest living standing hardwood tree is a mountain ash called Centurion in Tasmania. It’s about 329 feet 8 3/4 inches high.
  5. Trees never die of old age. Insects, diseases and people are usually the killers.
  6. The mighty Giant Sequoia is thought by many to be the biggest living organism in the world, although a 2,400 acre fungus mycelium in eastern Oregon – almost ten square kilometres of it – is a strong, if less-visible, contender.
  7. The world is home to more than 23,000 different kinds of trees.
  8. The terms softwood and hardwood describe the leaves, seeds and structure of the trees rather than the type of wood they produce.
  9. Redwood bark can be as much as two feet thick.
  10. City trees tend to live for an average of 13 years less than country trees.
  11. The Amazon Basin is the biggest area of tropical forest on Earth, spanning a whopping eight and a half million acres.
  12. The plane tree, common in London’s streets, is excellent at absorbing pollution and sheds its bark regularly so it can absorb more.
  13. Just one tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year and can sequester a ton of CO2 safely by the time it’s 40 years old, which is why they’re so important in the battle against climate change.
  14. Balsa, though seemingly soft, is actually a hardwood!
  15. Every US state has its own official tree.
  16. Softwoods are not always softer than hardwoods.
  17. White oak is the easiest wood to bend using steam.
  18. Buddha experienced enlightenment under the wisdom tree. And ancient British graveyards often contain a yew tree, planted by pagan worshippers before the Christians took over and built churches on the same plots.
  19. The Osage Orange tree’s wood generates the most heat when burned.
  20. The tree with the widest diameter trunk is the African Baobab, just under 50 feet across with a 155 foot circumference.
  21. Kingley Vale in West Sussex contains a host of ancient yew trees, some of which are more than 2000 years old.
  22. The tree called “General Sherman” is not only the biggest giant sequoia, but it is also the biggest tree in the world. It is 83.8 m (274.9 feet) tall and its girth at breast height is 24,10 m (79 feet) (near the ground it is 31,3 m or 102,6 feet).
  23. Oak woodland was the most common vegetation in Britain before humans got their hands on it.
  24. British Oak trees can live for 500 years. We’d have a lot more of them if Henry VIII hadn’t cut almost all of them down to build warships.
  25. The world’s heaviest wood is Australian Bauhinia Red.
  26. The bark of the Cork Oak is used for bottle corks and cork flooring.
  27.  Some bristlecone pines are thought to be more than 5000 years old. But the famous lime tree at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire is probably nearer 6000 years old, and The Fortingall Yew in Perthshire could be as old as 9000.
  28. Softwoods come from gymnosperm trees (evergreens), while hardwoods come from angiosperm trees (deciduous types).
  29. Softwoods don’t have vessels like harder woods. Their cells are open, and are used to feed, water and bring nutrients to the tree.
  30. Because softwoods take wood finishes so well, they were responsible for the pine furniture boom of the early 80’s to late 90’s.
  31. Trees trap 50% of all the sun’s energy caught by living organisms.
  32. All wood is biodegradable.
  33. Wet wood, unlike dry wood, can conduct electricity.
  34. The world’s blackest wood is ebony, the world’s whitest wood is holly.
  35. Lignin is what makes a wood hard. Softwoods have less of it, hardwoods contain more.
  36. The heaviest American wood is Lignum Vitae Holywood, particularly rich in Lignin.
  37. Softwoods are usually a lighter colour than hardwoods.
  38. Pine is denser than some hardwoods so is an affordable alternative.
  39. Softwoods account for about 80% of the world’s timber production.
  40. Well-maintained trees can increase a property’s value… some say by as much as 27%, others hang their hat on 14%.
  41. Place trees in the right way near a property and they can cut air conditioning by 30%.
  42. Hardwood is denser than softwood and burns for longer, with more heat, as long as it’s properly seasoned.
  43. Softwood is not as dense and doesn’t burn for quite as long, but it can still give off as much as 75% of the heat than hardwood.
  44. As long as forests are properly managed, wood fuel is renewable. Modern appliances can achieve a 90% burning efficiency, and the net carbon emissions from wood tend to be less than for fossil fuels.
  45. Trees get 90% of their nutrition from the atmosphere and only 10% from soil.
  46. Trees grow from the top, not the bottom. Watch for 100 years and you’ll notice the branches only move a few inches up the trunk as the tree grows.
  47. Insects hate the taste of tannin, the tea-coloured chemical trees contain in varying amounts.
  48. Some trees talk to one another. When willows are threatened by insect pests, they emit a chemical warning to nearby trees, who secrete more tannin to put the invaders off.
  49. Trees mean rain. Every day, just one acre of maple trees emits as much as 20,000 gallons of water into the air.
  50. In the USA, the shade and wind-proofing that trees deliver reduce annual heating and cooling costs by $2.1 billion.
  51. Some ironwoods are so dense, with a specific gravity of more than 1, that they sink in water.




30 Interesting Facts About Trees and Wood


Below are 30 interesting facts about trees!

  1. In 1872, trained forester William Ferguson, reported a fallen Mountain Ash, which was 18 feet in diameter and 435 feet long.
  2. In 1964, after his coring tool broke and getting permission from the U.S. Forest Service, a research scientist to get an accurate age measurement cut down a Bristlecone Pine, in Great Basin National Park, since named Prometheus! It turned out the tree was over 4,950 years old making it older than the Bristlecone Pine named Methuselah, which at the time was 4,803 years old. He had not only found the oldest living thing on the planet, but he had also killed it. A cross-section of the tree is on view at the Great Basin National Parks, visitor center in California. 
  3. The world’s tallest living standing hardwood tree, is a Mountain Ash named Centurion which is located in Tasmania, Australia. It is approximately 329 foot 8 3/4 inches tall.
  4. The tree with the widest {diameter} tree trunk in the world is an African Baobab. Its trunk diameter is almost 49 foot, it has a circumference of 155 foot and is 72 foot tall.
  5. The tree with the world’s greatest recorded tree circumference {girth} is the Santa Maria del Tule, an Montezuma Cypress. As the trunk of the tree is not circular in shape but in reality has a distorted and irregular shape, you can’t multiply the diameter by 3.14159 {pi} and come up with its true approximate circumference {girth} which is in excess of 160 foot. It is approximately 141 foot tall and over 2000 years old.
  6. The blackest wood in the world is Ebony.
  7. The whitest wood in the world is Holly. The Silver Striped Holly seems to produce the whitest wood of all the species of Holly. To produce the whitest wood, the best time to cut down Holly trees is in the winter when the sap is lower, and then mill and kiln dry it before summer.
  8. The world’s longest solid wood/lumber board {no lamination}, is a piece of Ancient Kauri. It is approximately 40 foot in length and has an estimated worth of $100,000.00.
  9. The world’s widest solid wood/lumber board {no lamination}, is a piece of Figured Claro Walnut. At its narrowest width, it is 56 inches and at its widest width, it is 74 inches. It is 3 3/16 inches thick, 12 foot 6 inches long and has an estimated worth of $10,500.00.
  10. Osage Orange is the species of wood that produces the most heat when burned.
  11. The most recently discovered tree specie is the Wollemi Pine. It was discovered in September 1994, by, a New South Wales National Parks officer named David Noble in a secluded area in the Blue Mountains of the Wollemi National Park, approximately 124 miles west of Sydney Australia.
  12. White Oak is the species of wood that is easiest to steam bend. With thin stock you can bend it, into an extremely small radius.
  13. Palm Sunday was named after the Palm tree because people took branches of Palm trees with them to greet Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.
  14. The world’s tallest living uncut decorated Christmas tree is a Douglas Fir. It is approximately 160 foot tall, lighted with over 50,000 LED lights and is located in Blue River, Oregon USA.
  15. To date, the world’s tallest cut down and decorated Christmas tree was a Fir of 212 foot. It was used to celebrate the Christmas of 1950 in the city of Seattle, Washington USA.
  16. The world’s shortest tree specie is the Dwarf Willow. It is rare to find one more than 2 1/2 inches tall. They are also dioecious, producing both male, yellow colored and female, red colored catkins. They have been found growing on frozen tundra in the Arctic.
  17. The tree specie with the thickest bark is the Redwood, its bark can be up to 24 inches thick.
  18. The tree specie with the thickest bark other than a Redwood, is the Coast Douglas Fir tree. On the older trees, the bark can be 8 – 12 inches thick.
  19. The tree specie that produces the largest cones is the Sugar Pine, ranging in size from 12 to 24 inches in length and 4 to 5 inches in diameter.
  20. Lignin is the substance found in wood that helps determine how hard the wood will be. The more Lignin present, the harder the wood and vice versa, the less present, the softer the wood.
  21. The bark of the Cork Oak is used to produce cork wine stoppers and flooring. The species grows in Northwest Africa and Southwest Europe with Algeria, Morocco, Portugal and Spain, manufacturing the majority of the world’s supply.
  22. Up until a few years ago, the world’s oldest living tree, a Bristlecone Pine, named the Methuselah was located in the Great Basin National Park, California. It is approximately 4,844 years old. It is also the tallest living {55 foot} Bristlecone Pine.
  23. With John White’s refined measurement techniques of today, The Lime in the Silkwood at Westonbirt Arboretum (Near Tetbury, Gloucester, U.K.) is probably around 6000 years old.
  24. The Fortingall Yew, in Glen Lyon, Perthshire, Scotland, might be as much as 9000 years old. The usual way of calculating a trees age by counting the annual rings in the trunk or by carbon dating, are not accurate when it comes to Yews because a Yews trunk tends to hollow with age, while it continues to grow by rooting its branches and wrapping them around itself. There is even documentation of the formation of aerial roots growing inside the hollow trunk. Another reason are Yews have been known to stop growing for long periods of time, {documented 325 years}, thus having no growth rings for that period.
  25. John White’s method of estimating a tree’s age is by measuring its trunk circumference approximately 5 feet from ground level. He had access to and studied more than 100,000 tree measurements and multitudes of growth ring patterns from broken or cutoff stumps and concluded that growth rings are closer together on the outside portion of the stump. His technique shows that trees grow at different rates in the three phases of their lifetime, Formative, Middle Age and Senescence (Old Age}. With the evidence he has compiled, tables of expected growth, relative to trunk size have been made for numerous common trees.
  26. There are two types of trees that it is impossible to tell how old they are by counting their growth rings. Trees produce growth rings because of the distinguishable temperature changes that occur over a yearly cycle causing their growth to slow down and speed up. Trees in certain tropical regions that have a consistent year round climate where growth is ongoing do not form pronounced growth rings. Trees that are endogenous, the majorities of which is some specie of Palm tree, which grow by adding new material inwards, do not produce growth rings.
  27. The world’s largest divided tree leaf to date was growing on a West African Raphia Palm. When measured, it was approximately 82 foot in length. Note: Only a very small percentage of tree species in the world have divided leaves.
  28. The tree specie with the largest undivided leaves is the Bigleaf Magnolia. The leaves are 7 to 12 inches wide and 12 to 32 inches long.
  29. The lightest American wood is Corkwood Florida. Its average weight/density/specific gravity is .21. It is native to the southeastern United States especially Florida.
  30. The heaviest American wood is Lignum Vitae Holywood. Its average weight / density / specific gravity is 1.31. It is native to southern Florida.


Source: thelivingurn.com

11 must-know facts about woods and forests in the UK


Woods are a vital part of the ecosystems that give us the essentials of life. Woods and forests really are amazing places, not only are they beautiful but they provide us with many benefits. Without them the world would be a very different place. Here are 11 key facts about woods and forests in the UK.

1. Woods and forests are cities for our wildlife

(WTML / John Bridges)

Our woods and trees are home to more wildlife than any other landscape. The UK’s woodland has some of our richest habitats providing homes for thousands of species including many of our mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates. Woods, and more specifically the trees within them, provide shelter, food and safe places to hide and breed.

2. Trees in forests communicate with each other through a fungal network or ‘wood wide web’

Fungi have fine threads that spread underground called mycelium. Trees use mycelium like an underground internet to link with other trees and plants. They use these networks to communicate, such as to warn each other of danger. They also use them to share nutrients, older trees will pass nutrients to their offspring that are growing nearby. These partnerships are called ‘mycorrhiza’.

3. Not all rainforests are tropical, we actually have rainforests in the UK

(WTML / Phil Formby) The Celtic Rainforest at Lennyrch in Wales

The UK is home to a few small pockets of rainforest. They are temperate deciduous forests with a constantly moist environment that encourages growth of mosses and ferns.

4. Woods in the UK are structured with four layers: canopy, understory, herb layer and ground layer

The canopy is made up of the leaves and branches of the tallest trees. The understory or shrub layer is the vegetation below the canopy from smaller trees or shrubs, such as hawthorn, that grow in low light. The herb (or field) layer comes next, plants that grow here depend on how open the canopy is and often need gaps of light to grow. The ground layer is the forest floor filled with mosses, fungi, leaf litter and decaying wood.

5. Galloway Forest in Scotland is the UK’s largest forest at 297 square miles

The next largest is England’s Kielder Forest in Northumberland which is 235 square miles.

6. Around 13% of the UK is covered in woods and forests

(WTML / David Rodway)

(WTML / David Rodway)

The UK is the second least wooded country in Europe after Ireland. In comparison Europe’s average tree cover is 44%. Not enough trees are being planted in the UK meaning we could soon be in a period of deforestation. This is why the Woodland Trust works to create new woodland and connect existing woods by planting native trees.

7. Just 2% of the UK’s land mass is covered in ancient woodland

(WTML / Jane Corey)

(WTML / Jane Corey)

Ancient woodland is defined as areas that have been continuously wooded since 1600 in England and Wales, and 1750 in Scotland. It’s not the trees but the soils that give them this name. The soils have been preserved from human interference for centuries. This has resulted in the development of complex ecosystems that make ancient woods unique and irreplaceable. The Trust is working hard to protect these habitats before they all disappear.

8. The UK’s woods are home to almost half of all bluebells in the world

(WTML / Lesley Newcombe)

(WTML / Lesley Newcombe)

The UK is famous for its stunning bluebell carpets that bloom in our ancient woods from April to May. They are a slow spreading bulb flower with each bulb potentially living for years. New flowers bloom from the existing bulbs every year. But they face many threats from trampling, habitat loss, competition and hybridisation with Spanish bluebells, and from people picking them or digging up the bulbs (this is illegal).

9. The Woodland Trust owns over 1,100 woods across the UK which are all free to visit

We believe everyone should be able to access woods near them for free.  We also buy woods to safeguard and restore them, where we can. We take on sites with existing or ancient woodland or create new woods by planting. Some of our popular sites have both, such as Heartwood Forest in Hertfordshire.

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

10. Last year, on the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forests, a new contemporary Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched for the UK

Over 70 organisations, local groups and thousands of people worked together to create a Tree Charter that will guide policy and practice in the UK. It is made up of 10 principles that illustrate how we should use, value, protect and celebrate woods and trees. Over 130,000 people have shown their support by signing the Charter.

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

11. Spending time in woods and forests, or even just around trees, is proven to boost our health and wellbeing

(WTML / Judith Parry)

(WTML / Judith Parry)

Lots of research provides evidence that woods benefit our health. Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with fewer complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Being near trees helps our concentration by reducing mental fatigue. One study discovered that a forest stroll had beneficial effects on blood pressure, heart rate and the immune system.

Discover woods and forests for yourself

We hope you enjoyed learning some interesting facts about woods and forests in the UK. Why not go and discover the wonder of woods and forests first-hand with your family or friends? We offer lots of activities to get you started as part of our family membership.


Source: woodlandtrust.org.uk