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What next for UK trees?

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  • UserProfessor David Coomes, Fitzwilliam College
  • ClockThursday 28 January 2021, 18:00-19:00
  • HouseZoom.

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Just as the UK’s ancient woodlands face existential threats from large infrastructure projects, such as HS2 , ambitious attempts are being made to invest in planting schemes, through the English Tree Strategy. Are these activities at odds with each other?

Join Fitz Fellow, Professor David Coomes, in conversation with the Master, Baroness Morgan, on Thursday 28th January, 6pm, to learn more.

You might have heard David Coomes, Professor of Forest Ecology and Conservation, interviewed on the Today programme in December. He was not convinced by the way that HS2 was mitigating ancient woodland destruction: “Translocation just a posh term for moving organisms from one place to another. You might decide to move rhino from somewhere that they are endangered to another country. But translocation of entire ecosystems, which is what they are trying to do here is much, much more difficult as it is an intricate web of organisms…It’s a little bit like taking a Turner masterpiece, tearing it up into little pieces and moving it somewhere else and framing it and looking at it again. There are semblances of the masterpieces still there but it’s obviously not the same thing anymore.”

But what is the answer? The English Tree Strategy, championed by Lord Goldsmith, will commit the country to plan 30,000ha of new woodlands per year from 2025. If that happens, will it compensate for the loss of ancient woodlands? Where should trees be planted, and which species should be chosen? And who’s going to pay for it?

This talk is part of the Fresh Thinking At Fitz series.

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