The LNP partners have been promoting and improving the natural environment of Gloucestershire for much longer than the Local Nature Partnership has been around, and a key strength of the partnership is that stakeholders in the county have a long a successful history of working together towards mutual aims. The LNP therefore sought to better understand the combined capacity of the partners, in terms of both human and land resource. A short survey of some LNP members produced some interesting results, which really constitutes one of the key strengths of the partnership, and why we are able to achieve what we are. Partners own or directly manage at least 2,650 hectares of land. This is just less than 1% of the total area of the county. Interestingly, all partners surveyed said they would consider using their land for either carbon sequestration or biodiversity offsetting. The survey also shows that between organisations like FWAG, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the National Trust and the National Farming Union, the Partnership supports farmers and landowners who manage over 100,000 hectares! This is over one third of the whole county. When asked about human resource, respondents reported over 130 land managers and land management experts. 130 experts in working with the natural environment. This is such a huge strength for a partnership to be able to draw on. These findings clearly show what we have known for some time: the a key strength of the partnership is the amount of expertise it represents. The survey results also highlight a huge opportunity for delivering environmental benefits in Gloucestershire, through the significant land that partners have influence over. Where the partnership adds value is by bringing these stakeholders together, promoting a joined up approach to policy, practice and opportunities. We all know natural processes do not acknowledge man-made boundaries, but operate at the landscape scale. Therefore it is by working together that we can deliver the improvement to our natural environment that the wildlife, society and economy of Gloucestershire so badly needs.
Wherever you turn at the moment there is energy for tree planting. Tree mania, we have heard it described as. It is all to often motivated by a well-intentioned but naive attempt to 'offset' carbon emissions. Planting trees is really important, necessary even, but it is not an alternative to reducing/eliminating carbon emissions. It is additional to that. Indeed we need to plant many million trees in Gloucestershire just to offset the reduction in tree numbers that will come about as a result of Ash Dieback! Tree whips take years to get ready for planting, then the trees then take many more years to sequester any serious amount of carbon. Many more trees need to be planted than will exist at maturity, and ongoing management of the tree is all too often underestimated or not considered. A more natural approach to woodland creation, allowing natural regeneration to occur, is often overlooked. Similarly, there are other land-use changes which can reduce net carbon emissions for lower cost whilst delivering more co-benefits, such as wetland creation and grassland reversion. The GLNP is working hard to ensure that best practice is followed when undertaking tree projects. As part of this aim, we wanted to share a document, produced by Joe Middleton from the Woodland Trust, which demonstrates the different plastic-alternative tree guards on the market at present, as trialed at a project they have in Bath. Thanks for sharing, Joe! The GLNP are producing a Tree Strategy which will be based on a principle of 'the right tree in the right place'. While this is being prepared, we would like to point you in the direction of another Woodland Trust document, their Emergency Tree Plan for the UK. Finally, if you are in Stroud District and are interested in getting involved in growing trees, either by volunteering, supplying land, funding the acquisition of trees, creating a tree nursery or anything else, please get in touch with Claire at Stroud Valleys Project. She is doing great work coordinating a team of volunteers, matching supply with demand and getting trees in the ground! http://www.stroudvalleysproject.org/ The GLNP hopes to, in time, scale-up Clare's great work to deliver a county-wide coordinated approach to woodland creation and tree-growing. This image shows some native trees, predominantly Oak, being planted by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to sequester carbon and reduce flood risk in the Cotswold District.