What role could trees play?
We believe that a sustainable environment is the basis of our prosperity and essential to the health and wellbeing of society. The trees within this provide many of our essential requirements – clean air, water, soil, food, fuel and building materials. Trees offer huge benefits for wildlife and help to improve the biodiversity and habitat connectivity of the natural landscape. These cherished landscapes in turn contribute to our cultural heritage and sense of identity as places to exercise or unwind, or for recreation and tourism.
Integrated into farming systems, trees protect our valuable natural resources by helping to manage water and air pollution, prevent soil erosion and boost soil sustainability through support of micro-organisms and addition of nutrients. They help with crop pollination, integrated pest management and product diversification.
It is heartening to see that the Command paper recognises many of these benefits: “A new system will promote long term sustainable land management. We want farmers and foresters to integrate their plans for the production of environmental goods with plans for the production of food and timber. Improving the environment can also benefit the competitiveness of the sector, for example, through improving soils and increasing resource efficiency.”