A “barrage” of threats has pushed woodlands in the United Kingdom to a “crisis point,” a report warned.
Only 7% of woodlands were in good ecological condition as they face threats that include climate change, habitat damage, and nitrogen pollution, according to a report by Woodland Trust, the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK.
“The warning signs in this report are loud and clear,” Woodland Trust Director of Conservation and External Affairs Abi Bunker said.
“They are approaching crisis point, and we need — even if just for our own survival as a human race — to take note and do something about it now,” Bunker also said
Bunker warned that if the threats to the woodlands are not tackled, “we will severely damage the UK’s ability to address the climate and nature crises.”
The report also found that although woodland cover is steadily increasing, wildlife is declining.
“Wildlife is going down — woodland birds, woodland butterflies, woodland plants are all going in the wrong direction for woodlands as a whole,” Chris Reid, lead author of the report, told BBC News.
“This is down to factors such as pollution, invasive species, deer browsing and fragmentation — woods chopped up into small parcels. All of these need to be tackled,” Reid also said.
The charity called for current tree planting efforts to quadruple and to increase the proportion of native tree species.
The amount of woods has grown slowly in recent years, covering 13.2% of the land area from 12% in 1998. About half of it is made up of native trees species, including centuries-old ancient woodlands, while the remaining half is made up of non-native trees.
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