Threats to woodland, wildlife and the wider environment are growing.

Our trees and woods face a challenging combination of pressures, including:

  • climate change
  • inappropriate development
  • pollution
  • a growing population in a predominantly urban environment
  • attack from deadly tree diseases and pests.

Ancient woods and trees in particular are some of our most valuable natural assets. They are irreplaceable and home to many vulnerable and threatened species. We believe there should be no further loss of ancient woodland and ancient trees.

Pests and diseases

The increasing number of pests and diseases attacking trees in the UK is having a real impact on our woodland and wildlife. Chalara ash dieback alone could claim millions of the UK’s ash trees, particularly affecting our landscape outside of woods, while oak trees are suffering the impact of acute oak decline.

We work to protect our most valuable woods and trees from pests and diseases through research, partnerships and by influencing policy.

Human impact

More than 1,000 irreplaceable ancient woods have been threatened by development over the last 10 years.

And there are weak levels of legislative protection for our most precious woods. Dwindling grant funding is adding to the pressure.

Development can impact ancient woodland through:

  • chemical pollution
  • disturbance
  • fragmentation
  • introduction of non-native plants
  • cumulative effects.

We work to protect our most valuable woods and trees from direct loss. We also advocate buffering woods from the impacts of neighbouring land-use by planting new wildlife areas around them.

We work with developers to advise on protecting woodland. In some cases we campaign to prevent any further loss of ancient woodland to development.

We also work with government, landowners, organisations and members of the public, using our experience and authority in conservation, to campaign for protection of woods and trees.

Find out more about the impact of development

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