The landscape needs positive action, by everyone concerned with the land, to carry out planting which will benefit the atmosphere and world’s climate. Land owners, developers, farmers and the millions who enjoy the landscape, should work to increase the numbers of native trees planted and to ensure their future management. Only by creating sustainable woodlands in urban as well as rural areas, can we hope to re-establish a tree cover which fits the characteristics of our climate and protects the diversity of our landscapes.
Britain has carried out successful plantation forestry, leading to significant climatic improvement by absorption of greenhouse gases. This contributes to shelter from cold winds and a regular supply of rain for our homes, farms and workplaces. It secures our water supply and enhances the quality of our lives. Tree planting allows the UK to reduce timber imports and slows the destruction of the tropical hardwood forests.
Plants depend on the climate and, paradoxically, the climate is to a large measure dependent on them. There is now ample evidence from the International Panel on Climate Change that the human race is making an increasingly negative impact on the natural processes of climatic change. There must be a change from the present cut-and-run philosophy of land use, accepted as the developmental norm in most ‘advanced’ nations. Unsustainable logging of tropical trees reduces the world’s capacity to absorb excess greenhouse gases. Forest soils soon erode in tropical rain. The loss of reflective cloud cover which follows is one of the causes of global warming. Post-war adoption of American farming practices in East Anglia led to mass hedgerow destruction and consequent wind and water erosion of precious top soil. Micro-climate and species diversity were badly affected by ill-considered MAFF grants. The community lost out. We should therefore aim: "To achieve environmental stability in every region". We have a common responsibility to restore appropriate land use and land cover. Landscape architects, scientists and managers have a role in climate amelioration at every scale, from the regional to the smallest microclimate. They have opportunities to incorporate more sustainable tree planting, consistent with land use activities, the need for daylight, and for sheltered space. There are opportunities to incorporate policies in local plans. New buildings should be set in the context of a holistic balance between landscape and architecture.
Contact: Jeremy Dodd