Woodland Creation/Tree Planting Site
- What is the mechanism?
Tree planting and new woodland creation is one of the mechanisms to tackle the nature and climate crisis together.
Our trees and woods are fragmented and face increasing threats from climate change, pests and diseases.
The creation of a range of woodland types and sizes, including the use of natural colonisation, can deliver environmental or social benefits, supporting nature recovery, improving biodiversity and water quality, reducing flood risk, providing new public access and sequestering carbon.
Outcome 2 of the Partnership Management Plan highlights the priorities to increase resilience within the landscape for its natural resources, habitats and species to adapt to the impacts of climate change and other pressures.
Tree planting and woodland creation, including natural regeneration, will contribute towards meeting priorities 2.1 – Improving soil and water, and 2.2 – Improve trees and woodland.
In addition, the South Downs Local Plan requires development to identify and incorporate opportunities for creation and restoration of priority habitats and ecological connectivity networks under Policy SD9 Biodiversity and Geodiversity.
In addition, Policy SD11 Trees, Woodlands and Hedgerows of the South Downs Local Plan also requires development to identify appropriate protection zones and buffers around hedgerows, woodlands and trees to prevent damage, as well as encourage the enhancement and creation of new habitat linkages.
The England Trees Action Plan 2021-2024 (ETAP)sets out the government’s long-term vision for the treescape it wants to see in England by 2050 and beyond.
Our trees and woodlands will form a core part of the Nature Recovery Network, by providing important habitats themselves as well as connecting other wildlife rich habitats.
Tree planting and woodland creation in the South Downs National Park will contribute towards achieving the Government’s overall target of planting 30,000 hectares per year.
- Site location
The location and quality of new woodland is the key to successfully expanding woodland cover in the South Downs.
Sites for woodland creation are sought across the South Downs National Park, with preference for the following:
a. A Woodland Opportunity Mapping Tool is currently being developed to aid with the identification of potential areas for woodland expansion. The Woodland Opportunity Plan will help to pinpoint priority areas where tree planting will have the most benefit and reduce tree planting at inappropriate sites.
b. Sites that have the potential to buffer or expand existing woodlands or to connect isolated woodland blocks by planting new hedgerows or enabling natural regeneration by trees on suitable land. For example, buffering ancient woodland or connecting isolated woodland blocks through creation of rews/shaws/hedgerows.
c. Sites located in strategic areas identified as important for connectivity of woodland wildlife species.
d. Urban tree planting
h. Sites for woodland creation as part of a BNG offsetting project that are in the same general area as the development, providing new community woodlands.
- Site size
No minimum or maximum site area.
- Current land use
All except private gardens or sites already designated for wildlife value i.e. SSSI, Local Wildlife Site
- Landscape considerations
Any new woodland created and trees outside woodlands / hedgerow planted need to be consistent with the landscape character in order to achieve the best outcomes for biodiversity.
The management approach should also work with soil conditions and the underlying geology.
It is important carefully design new woodlands to fit within the landscape and accommodate features of interest.
The SDNPA has prepared guidance to summarise the different landscape character types, the actions that can be taken for nature or to be more nature friendly and the key sensitivities to consider in the area.
- Management duration
Long-term, likely over 100 years.
- Management options
There are a variety of schemes to support tree planting and the creation of new woodland, which can be achieved through a wide range of management options. One example of how to deliver new woodlands is through the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO).
Landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply to the EWCO for support to create new woodland, including through natural colonisation, on areas as small as one hectare.
It will support the creation of a range of woodland types and sizes, including: along rivers to improve the water environment; through natural colonisation where woodlands are created through natural processes by trees which grow from seeds which fall and germinate there; and where their location and design will provide public benefits including greater access.
- Urban Tree Challenge Fund
- Woodland Creation Planning Grant
- Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation
- Green Recovery Challenge Fund
- Local Authority Treescapes Fund from DEFRA
- Woodland carbon guarantee scheme
- Woodland Trust – Emergency Tree Fund for Local Authorities
- Woodland Trust – MOREwoods
- Woodland Trust – MOREhedges
- Woodland Trust – large scale planting
- Woodland Trust – free trees for schools and communities
- Chichester Tree Scheme – funded by Defra
The Woodland Trust has relaunched the Woodland Trust Woodland Carbon offer to landowners and to businesses. Here are the 2 separate webpages for awareness
- Woodland Carbon: Farmers and Landowners – Woodland Trust
- Woodland Carbon for Businesses – Woodland Trust
The Trust’s South East regional team provide advise to landowners on bespoke native woodland establishment opportunities based on our nature conservation principles – they have additional central support to provide specialism on the registration and verification of woodland creation projects (including natural establishment as well as planting) onto the government’s Woodland Carbon Code.
In addition to the national and regional funds, the South Downs National Park Trust runs Trees for the Downs