National Trust: extreme weather led to worst tree damage ‘in a generation’



The National Trust has said that trees in the UK have been severely affected by the recent extreme weather, with woodland in some areas experiencing more damage than in the Great Storm of 1987.

Strong winds and storm that battered the UK from December to February caused a huge loss in many areas of the country, especially in the south and west of England.

The charity surveyed over 50 woodlands and gardens and found out that in some locations the damage has been the worst in more than 20 years.

Killerton Estate in Devon was among the most damaged sites, with more than 500 trees destroyed. Stourhead in Wiltshire and Mottisfont Abbey and the New Forest in Hampshire also lost hundreds of trees.

Other gardens severely affected were Tatton Park near Manchester, Nymans in Sussex and Scotney Castle in Kent.

The National Trust’s nature and wildlife specialist Matthew Oates said, “Increased storminess, and increased extreme weather events generally, are likely to stress trees further, especially veteran trees.

“We will have to think carefully about where we establish trees and what species we plant.”

The Trust said that in the light of the storm, trees should be planted in a way that makes them more resilient to weather events. It added that despite the severe loss experienced, it could have been even worse.

“People love and need trees, and the loss of specimen trees in gardens and parks, and of ancient beeches and oaks in the woods and wider countryside, hurts us all and damages much wildlife”, Oates said.

“We value and venerate these old sentinels and need to become increasingly aware of the power of the weather.

Further reading:

British public’s concern for the environment ‘highest for six years’

Poll: 47% of Britons say floods are a result of climate change

Government needs to ‘work with nature’ on flood risk

UK weather: south-west braced for torrential downpours

Lord Rooker: more woodland can help against floods


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