For those interested in large land mammals a safari in the Serengeti would be among the top locations in the world to visit, for those interested in sea-life the Great Barrier Reef would appeal and for those interested in trees Britain is assuredly one of the best sites in the world.
And as the animals of the Serengeti and the Coral and associated fauna of the Barrier Reef are under great threats, not least from climate change, the trees of Britain are also. Britain is a managed landscape, honed into great beauty by humans. There can be no where else on Earth with the variety of species, the uniqueness of each specimen, when you include all the urban, garden and parkland landscapes also.
I have often heard the erroneous claim that there are more Ancient Trees in England, indeed in one park, than in France and Germany put together. Such sheer nonsense betrays what can be celebrated. Particularly if we celebrate all trees.
And this variety, which parallels the extraordinary variety in the geography, geology and therefore soils of this island, means that we must surely have below our feet seething populations of micro-fauna that change metre by metre helping to alter the physiology of trees that are actually the same species. The salt soaked Quercus petraea on the edge of the South West’s Ria Estuaries are simply not the same as the Quercus petraea on the hilltops just behind.
And in our Cities we have planted in private and public land the most extraordinary collections of trees. Even on the streets themselves…. however these trees are heavily threatened by Trumpesque politics as in Sheffield, where the Council are guilty of nothing short of landscape fascism by supporting their PFI partners Amey in felling healthy trees with abandon.
Image from the Sheffield Tree Campaign.
How long before many other trees, in all landscapes suffer the same threat as the biomass industry seeks to swallow as much as it can?
I am shocked and saddened that we have lost the ability to get things right, far too many are merrily planting the wrong trees and felling the wrong trees. The arb and forestry industries are forsaken and usurped by frankly anyone who cares to, and many do.
Is it too late? It does seems so as those prepared to campaigned for the rich, enviable arboreal heritage of Britain now get arrested for doing so.