Terra Sulis has been working closely with Friends of the Earth and local community group Chew Valley Plants Trees on how to find the space to double woodland cover in the Chew Valley as a response to the Climate and Ecological Emergencies. The green and pleasant Chew Valley actually has very little of what the Forestry Commission calls ‘woodland’. At just 7% it is well below the English and National averages of 10% and 13%. However, we have found that there is more than enough space to double woodland cover without encroaching on arable land needed for food production or protected and priority habitats important for biodiversity. As part of a joined-up plan we have created a parish atlas for each and every parish in the valley that outlines where to consider creating woodland. We have also thought about agroforestry and how trees could be incorporated into both arable and pasture systems and have made estimates of how much agroforestry each parish might accommodate. Each parish is different so the balance of woodland, silvopasture (trees with livestock) and silvoarable (trees with crops) will be different too.
This is about making an historic change to our valley but it is not about planting trees just anywhere. We have found that the opportunity woodland niches are similar to where the remaining ancient woodland tends to be and the silvopasture (trees with livestock) is where the former orchards used to be. So it is a vision for a future landscape that may actually look very much like the one of the past.
This can only happen with the consent and engagement of landowners, so it is time to start the conversation.
If you want to know where to consider planting woodland and trees see woodlands.terrasulis.org
If you want to get your hands dirty and plant some trees visit chewvalleyplantstrees.co.uk