Valuable insights gained during Woodland Creation conference

Conference organisers Jemima Parker, Christine Jack and Stephen Scales.
Conference organisers Jemima Parker, Christine Jack and Stephen Scales.

Zero Carbon Harrogate’s first Woodland Creation conference has proven to be a great success.

The conference was held in the surroundings of Ripley Castle and attracted more than 50 delegates from a broad range of areas.

The delegates represented local city and district councils, community groups, Government agencies, independent trusts and academic institutions, as well as private landowners.

The conference focused on the opportunities for creating woodland and the associated benefits.

Speakers from the Forestry Commission, Forest Carbon Ltd and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust highlighted the many factors to be considered in planning, creating and maintaining woodland, from the availability of funding and practical limitations imposed by landscape, to the choice of tree and the need to work in partnership with landowners.

Trees are an important part of our life, providing food, timber, shelter and a host of proven health benefits but woodland also has a major role to play in helping to mitigate climate breakdown and as a means of natural flood management, which is becoming ever more important in our changing climate.

Trees absorb and store the carbon from the atmosphere, which forms as a result of our carbon emissions.

A Zero Carbon Harrogate spokesman said: “The potential benefits to be gained from planting more woodland, covering flood management, wildlife habitat and timber production were addressed in presentations from Arup Engineering, the Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) and White Rose Forest.

“Valuable insights into the practical management of woodland, from planting to harvest, were provided by a farmer with almost 30 years of experience of planting woodland on arable land, which included ways to manage wildlife such as deer and squirrels, which can cause significant damage to trees.

“The Woodland Creation Conference reaffirmed the need for better management and protect of our existing forests and woodland and for a greater awareness of the need to increase woodland coverage.”