Why we love woods and trees
Woods, and trees are essential to life. They have a myriad of different benefits for both wildlife and people.
They stabilise the soil, generate oxygen, store carbon, play host to a spectacular variety of wildlife, provide us with raw materials and shelter, inspire our imaginations and our creativity.
The almost magical, mystical quality of woods makes them a great place for relaxation and recreation. A walk in the woods can give anyone a feeling of peace and tranquility. Most of us have fond childhood memories of playing on or around trees.
A world without trees and woods would be barren and bare.
Combating climate change
As trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and lock it away for decades or even centuries. Planting new native woods in the UK increases the size of the carbon "sink", helping to mitigate the effects of some of our greenhouse gas emissions.
As the woodlands mature they provide increasingly valuable habitat to help wildlife adapt to inevitable climate change.
Essential for wildlife
Woodland provides a home for thousands of wildlife species. This is particularly true of ancient woodland, which provides a home for more wildlife than any other landscape.
Existing undisturbed for over 400 years, the ancient woodland environment has allowed a unique range of plants and animals to evolve. This now includes 79 globally threatened and declining ones.
Humans have had a relationship with woods ever since the time of Neolithic man around 4000BC. This is when the first forests were first cleared for agriculture and later other woodland areas were harvested for wood through coppicing and pollarding or used as wood pasture to graze livestock, and sometimes as shelter.
Today, woods still provide people with places for quiet reflection and relaxation and help improve the health of our body and minds. They also still have economic benefits in the form of tourism and timber products.