Trees are our lungs. Trees are our guardians. Trees are our health service and wildlife champions.

We desperately need trees, yet after centuries of damage and deforestation, just 13% of our land area is forested.

This has to change, and it has to change now. The UK must plant 1.5 million hectares of additional woodland by 2050 to meet its carbon neutral target - if we miss that target, the impact could be irreversible.


of UK tree cover is ancient woodland


of woodland wildlife species in decline


of our land area is forested

The benefits of trees

Climate change, wildlife loss and pollution are very real threats and are already affecting the UK. Trees are part of the solution – a wildlife super habitat and climate superhero that can help us to save nature, people and our planet.

1. Climate change

Trees don’t just mitigate carbon, removing it from the atmosphere, they also sequester it – absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and then locking it up for centuries. Much of this carbon is stored in the leaves, which transfer it to the woodland soil when they fall from the tree and rot down.

Trees near waterbodies can also be useful flood defences in an age where climate change is increasing flooding. Trees massively reduce the amount of rainwater entering watercourses, which in turn lowers the likelihood of a river bursting its banks and flooding low-lying areas.

2. Biodiversity

Climate change isn’t the only crisis we’re facing. We’re also living through a biodiversity crisis. Moths, birds, bats, dormice, butterflies, fungi – they all depend on woods, trees and hedges to feed, breed and thrive. But with 53% of our woodland wildlife species in decline, and woodland butterflies in particular plummeting by 58% since 1990, the figures speak for themselves.

3. Health and wellbeing

Trees boost our physical and mental health in so many ways. As well as keeping our atmosphere rich in oxygen, they filter pollutants from the air, shade our streets when it’s hot and even improve our immunity. Research has shown that chemicals called phytoncides, released by plants and trees, strengthen our immune, hormonal, circulatory and nervous systems when we breathe them in.

Trees also improve our quality of life - offering relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

4. Food production

Trees and farming go hand in hand. Trees shelter livestock from our increasingly wild weather and offer them shady spots for respite from heatwaves. Trees also improve soil health and prevent soil erosion, with those along or near watercourses helping to protect waterbodies (and their wildlife) from the pollution in farm run-off.

5. Urban green space

Trees can reduce both outdoor and indoor pollution by an incredible 50%. With urban communities disproportionately affected by pollution-related sickness and deaths, incorporating more trees and woods into urban areas is absolutely crucial.

What needs to happen?

With climate change already affecting the UK, wildlife disappearing at a terrifying rate, and more of us struggling to access green space than ever before, the UK needs more trees. But how do we do it?

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Protect what we've got

We may only be left with a fraction of the woodland that once covered the UK, but we can't forget about it. We must protect our existing trees and precious pockets of ancient woodland.

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Restore damaged woods

Many of our woods are damaged, neglected and mistreated, but all isn't lost. With the right restoration, we can bring them back from the brink and help them to thrive once more.

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Plant and expand

Alongside restoring existing woods, planting new trees to increase woodland cover and encouraging trees to regenerate on their own will bring crucial benefits for wildlife, people and our landscape.

What we’re doing to help

Trees are one of the best ways to tackle the climate crisis, support nature and create a healthy, happy society. To do that, we need a bold vision - to increase tree cover and transform our existing woods by 2030.

About us

Our strategy

Our vision is optimistic: a world where woods and trees thrive for people and nature. Find out how we plan to achieve this over the next decade.

Explore our goals

Protecting important woods and trees

  • Locating and mapping old woods and trees - we need to know where they are so we can protect them for the future.
  • Fighting the challenges wiping out our trees, including disease, development and climate breakdown.
  • Reducing the spread of pests and diseases by replanting with seed and trees sourced and grown here in the UK.
  • Purchasing and looking after woods that are in desperate need of restoration, or are at risk of damage or destruction.

Restoring native woods and trees

  • Campaigning for the government to produce legislation that works to restore our damaged ancient woods.
  • Developing guidance and offering training that helps landowners and even local communities look after woods and trees.
  • Tracking and analysing the overall health and wildlife of our native woods, so we know when action is needed.
  • Making sure our oldest and most special trees are prioritised for care and management.

Creating more tree cover

  • Establishing 60,000ha of native woodland by planting new trees, and encouraging existing trees to spread naturally.
  • Planting 10 million trees outside of woods, so that everyone has chance to spend time amongst trees.
  • Increasing average urban tree cover from 16% to 20% to create happier, healthier communities.
  • Campaigning for ambitious targets to increase the UK's tree cover.

Explore our work