Mapping expert Tim Richards of Terra Sulis and Friends of the Earth have drawn up an “opportunity map” of areas in England that may be suitable for creating more woodland cover.
The map and the data make it clear that here in Kent every district could increase their woodland cover without planting on valuable and essential land for growing food crops, designated wildlife sites (like Sites of Special Scientific Interest), Priority Habitats, and semi-improved grasslands, because we don’t want to harm nature, etc. The map identifies land where approximately another 20 million trees could be planted across all districts of Kent.
The woodland opportunity map uses open national datasets to assess potential woodland cover. And before any tree planting or woodland creation happens, it’s vital to carry out an ecological survey to ensure rare wildlife is not harmed. It’s also important to consider whether the land in question is suitable for natural regeneration – where trees can re-seed without the need for planting – or whether some planting is needed, to provide a local seed source.