December 12, 2018

Gunnersbury Park after its £50 million makeover


Gunnersbury Park was bathed in glorious sunshine for its official reopening at the weekend following a £50 million makeover. The 200 acres of parkland was packed with families and sunbathers and there were guided tours of the stunning parklands and feature buildings. There was also a chance to get a first look at the brand new museum inside the large mansion. The parklands have been re-shaped and sculpted so they look more like they did originally in the 19th century. This means a variety of changing landscapes from mowed lawns to carefully managed woodland, a glorious wildflower meadow and kitchen…

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How London’s trees are fighting climate change


Being around trees does a great deal of good for fighting climate change by mitigating air pollution and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These benefits aren’t just felt in rural areas, either. A new study by researchers at University College London found that the trees in the London borough of Camden store as much carbon per hectare as rainforests, Fast Company reports. A slew of health benefits are associated with being around trees. They have been known to reduce people’s stress and improve overall mental health, and according to one 2015 study, a walk in the woods can make people feel seven years…

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HS2 ‘green corridor’ plans slammed by campaigners


Ministers have put the cash forward as part of a woodland fund they say will enhance wildlife and see millions of new trees planted along the controversial line between Birmingham and Crewe, which is set to carve through around 45 miles of Staffordshire countryside to make way for HS2’s green corridor. The Woodland Trust insists the scheme will not make up for the amount of ancient woodland set to be destroyed by HS2. Ecologist Luci Ryan said: “This is utter greenwash nonsense from an organisation trying to pretend that HS2 isn’t the most environmentally destructive infrastructure project this country has…

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Fires to clear land lead to near-record loss of tree cover in 2017


Intentionally starting forest fires to make way for farms from the Amazon to the Congo basin caused a loss of global tree cover amounting to an area almost the size of Italy in 2017, an independent forest monitoring network said. Tree cover loss, mostly in the tropics, totaled 294,000 square kilometers (113,000 square miles) last year, just short of a record 297,000 sq kms in 2016, according to Global Forest Watch, run by the U.S.-based World Resources Institute (WRI). “Tropical forests were lost at a rate equivalent to 40 football fields per minute” in 2017, Frances Seymour, of the WRI,…

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There is no oak left: Are Britain’s trees disappearing?


England’s oak trees are disappearing fast. The last of the trees planted by the Victorians are now being harvested, and in the intervening century so few have been grown – and fewer still grown in the right conditions for making timber – that imports, mostly from the US and Europe, are the only answer. “We are now using the oaks our ancestors planted, and there has been no oak coming up to replace it,” says Mike Tustin, chartered forester at John Clegg and Co, the woodland arm of estate agents Strutt and Parker. “There is no oak left in England….

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Urban trees can absorb as much carbon as a rainforest, scientists discover


A ground-breaking laser technique shows city green areas like Hampstead Heath are absorbing about the same amount of carbon as rainforests. Researchers at University College London have conducted a study on 85,000 trees in north London to show the importance of planting and protecting urban forests to offset fossil fuel emissions. The team used millions of laser pulses to estimate how much carbon the trees absorb throughout their lives – which is important for helping to offset fossil fuel emissions. The new study, published in Carbon Balance and Management, analysed trees in UCL’s local borough of Camden. The team found…

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HS2 cost rises by £2m to buy trees


The government is putting another couple of million into the cash pile that’s to pay for HS2, with a plan to build what it calls a “Green Corridor” along parts of the line seeing the planting of millions of trees set to cost £2m. A selection of our finest, British, non-immigrant, native trees with union flag leaves and bloated white trunks are to be planted along a section of line between Birmingham and Crewe, with the £2m apparently enough to pay for the digging in of seven million trees and shrubs. It’s part of an £8m funding package designed to keep people with…

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Thousands of infected larch trees to be felled


A road is to be built into a forest in Carmarthenshire and thousands of trees cut down. The larch trees, like many others in Wales, have fallen prey to a disease called Phytophthora ramorum which can cause fatal lesions on a tree’s trunk. Spores are also released which infect neighbouring trees. Wales’s environment body Natural Resources Wales (NRW) plans to fell around 5,500 infected larch trees at Goldmines Forest Black, Pumsaint, north-west of Llandovery. And it now has planning permission, subject to conditions, from Carmarthenshire Council to build a road into the infected area. An NRW spokesman said native broadleaf…

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Seven million trees to line HS2


HS2 has set out plans to plant seven million new trees and shrubs along the 216km phase one route between London and Birmingham. Bat houses and newt ponds will also line the route. The ‘green corridor’ plan, with new wildlife habitats, native woodlands and community spaces, is designed to lessen the ecological impact of the new high speed railway. Nearly a quarter of a million trees have already been planted. Phase one will see the creation of about 10 square kilometres of new wildlife habitat – an increase of around 30% compared to what’s there now. The government has also…

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New UK pest destroying the nation’s elm trees


As part of local plant recording activity carried out by experienced amateurs in Surrey, plant samples were sent to the RBGE – one of a UK-wide network of environment-related organisations working together to tackle plant health issues – for identification. When an elm specialist examined the samples, the distinctive feeding damage was spotted. This is the first evidence of the pest in Britain. The invasive alien zigzag elm sawfly, Aproceros leucopoda, is native to East Asia. It was identified as a new pest of elms in Poland and Hungary in 2003 and has since spread to many other European countries….

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