The role of woods and trees in the fight against climate change

The benefits of trees in the fight against climate change are now well understood. They lock up carbon, reduce pollution and flooding, and support people, wildlife and livestock in adapting to the climate crisis.

But we need more of them. If the UK is to reach its carbon neutral target by 2050, the Committee on Climate Change has recommended an increase in woodland cover from 13% to 19%.

Woods and trees are a natural solution to the climate crisis.
That's how low the UK's woodland cover is.
Compared with the EU average of 37%.
That's how much woodland cover the UK needs.
If the UK is to meet its carbon net zero target by 2050.

The UK needs to at least quadruple the current rate of woodland creation and increase the proportion that comprises native tree and shrub species to help minimise the pace and level of climate change, adapt to its unavoidable impacts and give nature a
fighting chance of recovery.

The challenge is to find the space that trees need to expand and thrive across our nation. It’s a huge task. 

What we're doing

There is an urgent need to act now in all corners of the UK. We need to create more woodland, bring back wildlife and repair the woods and trees of our countryside and towns to benefit us all.

At the Woodland Trust, we're working towards expanding tree cover and protecting and restoring the UK's existing woodland.

To increase tree cover, we're on a mission to get 50 million native trees in the ground over the next 5 years, planting them where they’ll bring the most benefit, complementing other precious habitats, supporting wildlife and storing carbon for centuries.

What you can do

Explore the evidence