18 million trees to be planted as part of new climate forest

A new urban forest to be planted in and around Glasgow will include 18 million trees to be planted over the next decade.

The Clyde Climate Forest will have 10 trees per resident as part of the city region’s commitment to reaching Net Zero while raising woodland cover in the area from 17% to 20%.

Inter-connected woodlands will be created across the city of Glasgow – ahead of Cop26 – as well as East and West Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, and North and South Lanarkshire council areas.

Launching the initiative, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “This year we have an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Glasgow City Region and showcase how we are planning to adapt to and mitigate climate change while allowing nature to thrive and grow.

“New community woodlands, trees and forests will bring multiple benefits to our local communities as well as wildlife.

“The pandemic has brought into focus like never before the value of local spaces as places to exercise, de-stress and engage with nature and this project can help to deliver the Green Recovery.

“The economic, ecological and social benefits will be extensive.”

Around 29,000 hectares of broadleaved woodland in the region are fragmented due to urban development, with the planting aiming to reconnect the areas.

Community groups and land managers are being asked to help identify places to plant new trees, or replace those lost in the past.

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The project secured £400,000 from the Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund as well as £150,000 from Scottish Forestry over the next two years to recruit a project team and kick-start the development of new planting schemes.

Dave Signorini, Scottish Forestry chief executive, said: “The Clyde Climate Forest will deliver social and economic benefit to the population of the City Region.

“It will also provide a place for nature to connect, recover and thrive.

“Planting trees can help us reduce our carbon footprint and strengthen communities.

“Scottish Forestry is always ready to advise on the range of forestry grants that are on offer so that we can collectively get more trees in the ground.”

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Greens co-leader and MSP for Glasgow, said: “The ambition to grow the Glasgow and Clyde’s tree cover by a fifth is welcome in the year of the Cop 26 conference, and comes after Glasgow became the first city in Scotland to declare an ecological emergency in 2019, thanks to Scottish Green councillors.

“The project’s ambition must be realised quickly, and with a significant proportion of the trees being native woodland, so that it can play a major part on nature recovery.

“We are in nature and climate emergencies, so we need all partners and contributors committed to the scale required.”