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November 6, 2021

“Funding for 19% canopy cover by 2050”

Wood for the Trees is a series about the future of our forests.

We asked woodland experts for policy suggestions to help Britain’s trees and woodlands, and we are sharing these suggestions during COP26.

Suzi Maritineu works with Tree Sisters, a women’s led charity focusing on reforestation projects in the tropics, and she co-founded The Tree Conference. She says increasing tree cover in the UK is achievable. “I think the 19% canopy cover across the UK by 2050 is an achievable target. If the government was to put out clear messaging, of all landowners, farmers and communities, increasing canopy cover between five and ten percent – and supporting that directly financially, then that would bring about the kind of canopy cover that we need in this country.”

We spoke to Suzi during lockdown, as part of our series exploring hopes and fears for the future of our forests. Tom asked Suzi “about the relationship between humans and trees and how the positive feelings that we seem to experience in woodlands when we’re walking amongst them has a basis in science?”

Suzi said “one of the big influences who we invited to the first Tree Conference was Diana Beresford-Krueger, a botanist and a biochemist. There’s a lot of different areas of research that she covers, and examples would be a variety of different aerosols emitted from different trees that both contribute towards rejection of inflammation in the lungs, or the chemicals that actually reduce tension in the brain.” She said trees “evolved to suit, to ‘meet’ the senses of the beings who will come in and help propagate their seeds.” and that includes us human beings.

Suzi shared concerns that we also heard from heard from Gabriel Hemery at the Sylva Foundation, and Jez Ralph at TImber Strategies, and said there is “a lack of integration across different government departments and across different sectors” and that “understanding a clear coherent relationship with ecosystems and trees needs to be central to how we move forward.”

Find out more about Suzi’s work in part four of ‘Wood for the Trees,’ on youtube.

For more information about the series visit

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