Thursday 30 June 2022 12:15 PM Charity calls for England's two million ancient trees to be given same ... trends now

Thursday 30 June 2022 12:15 PM Charity calls for England's two million ancient trees to be given same ... trends now
Thursday 30 June 2022 12:15 PM Charity calls for England's two million ancient trees to be given same ... trends now

Thursday 30 June 2022 12:15 PM Charity calls for England's two million ancient trees to be given same ... trends now

Ancient trees in England should have the same protection status as old buildings, conservationists say, after research suggested there could be millions of unrecorded 'cathedrals of the natural world'.

Experts from the University of Nottingham estimated that there could be between 1.7 and 2.1 million ancient trees across the country — ten times as many as currently on official records.

The Woodland Trust is now rallying for these trees to receive the same heritage status as some of the nation's favourite buildings, including Buckingham Palace and the Old Bailey.

Adam Cormack, head of campaigning at the conservation charity, said: 'These astonishing trees are our inheritance from history, and we should be treating them like national treasures. 

'We are petitioning governments across the UK for better protection for our most ancient and important trees and to do more to support people who are looking after them.'

Ancient and veteran trees currently  have no automatic right of protection in the UK, and it is difficult for organisations to know exactly how many are at risk. Pictured is the world-famous 1,000-year-old Major Oak tree in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham

Ancient and veteran trees currently  have no automatic right of protection in the UK, and it is difficult for organisations to know exactly how many are at risk. Pictured is the world-famous 1,000-year-old Major Oak tree in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham

Ancient and veteran tree record abundance per 1km grid square as counted by volunteers. Abundance ranges from 0 (blue) to 939 (red)

An updated, more detailed map showing a much wider distribution of ancient trees corrected for sample bias

Left: Ancient and veteran tree record abundance per 1km grid square as counted by volunteers. Abundance ranges from 0 (blue) to 939 (red). Right:  An updated, more detailed map showing a much wider distribution of ancient trees corrected for sample bias

He called them the 'cathedrals of the natural world', before adding: 'These huge stalwarts have taken centuries to grow and their loss would just be devastating, not only for the landscape, but for the environment. 

'These trees are vital havens for wildlife and huge carbon stores.

'These living legends don't have the automatic legal protection that most of our wildlife and old buildings have. 

'This is despite the fact some are more than 1,000 years old.'

An ancient tree is defined as showing exceptional age in relation to other trees of the same species, and may have historical or cultural value.

An oak tree is classified as ancient when it reaches 400 years of age, and is considered a veteran tree at 150. 

However, Birch trees grow very quickly and reach ancient status at 150 years old, while Yews are not deemed ancient until they are about 800. 

Most ancient and veteran trees display similar features such as a hollowing trunk, dead wood in the canopy or the presence of other organisms such as fungi or plants on its structure. 

Veteran trees share similar features and values to ancient trees, but they may not be old enough to be considered truly ancient for their species.

Ancient and veteran tree records across England from the Ancient Tree Inventory. There are 94,024 records in total - 10,450 ancient and 83,574 veteran. These were used to generate the predictive models. The models, when calibrated using new field surveys, predict that there are 2.1 million ancient and veteran trees in total, of which those in the inventory are a small fraction

Ancient and veteran tree records across England from the Ancient Tree Inventory. There are 94,024 records in total - 10,450 ancient and 83,574 veteran. These were used to generate the predictive models. The models, when calibrated using new field surveys, predict that there are 2.1 million ancient and veteran trees in total, of which those in the inventory are a small fraction

Modelled map showing abundance as predicted from the counts only. Red areas represent areas of high abundance

Modelled map showing places where the researchers predicted they lack data because of sampling bias. Red areas represent places where it is likely there is under sampling

New predicted maps of the abundance of ancient and veteran trees across England from. Left shows the abundance as predicted from the counts only. Red areas represent areas of high abundance. Right shows places where the researchers predicted they lack data because of sampling bias. Red areas represent places where it is likely there is under sampling

LOST AND AT RISK ANCIENT TREES 

The Cubbington Pear tree, a 250-year-old pear tree near Leamington Spa, was felled to make way for HS2 in 2020.

Parts of Jones' Hill Wood in Buckinghamshire, an ancient woodland that inspired Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox, are also being cleared to make way for the high speed railway.

The 550-year old Darwin Oak, along with 30 veteran trees, are under threat from the North West Road in Shrewsbury.

Nine veteran trees and some ancient woodland at Ashenbank Wood, are slated for the chop to make way for the Lower Thames crossing.

As of yesterday, work has started to cut down a 600-year-old oak tree in Bretton, Peterborough that is on the Ancient Tree Register.

 

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The researchers built upon current data from the Woodland Trust's Ancient Tree Inventory, Ancient Tree Forum and the Tree Register.

These have currently mapped 180,000 English trees, with about 115,000 of those are classified as ancient or veteran.

A study, published today in read more from dailymail.....

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