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New ambitious target launched to double city tree canopy cover by 2050

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A new campaign launches today to raise awareness of the benefits of urban trees, inviting citizens and businesses to pledge their support for doubling the city’s canopy cover. Talking Trees is being jointly delivered by Bristol City Council, Bristol Tree Forum, Forest of Avon Trust and the Woodland Trust, who are working together to develop a tree strategy for Bristol which aims to double the tree canopy cover in the city by 2050. But this ambitious target cannot be reached without political support and wide public involvement.

The campaign is calling on residents to pledge their support for the target to double the city’s canopy cover – by sharing a tree selfie and tagging #TalkingTreesBristol, volunteering to survey trees, planting or sponsoring a tree, or signing the tree charter. Businesses can get involved too, through corporate tree sponsorship and by encouraging their staff to participate.

It’s a well-known fact that trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen but many of us take them for granted and give little thought to how they get there, or who maintains them. Bristol’s canopy cover is currently around 15% but experts believe that figure needs to double by 2050 to help combat climate change and air pollution, protect and enhance biodiversity and promote health and wellbeing.

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for communities, said: “We have identified a need to double the city’s canopy cover in order to combat air pollution and enhance Bristol’s urban environment. We are calling upon all citizens and businesses in Bristol to show their support for urban trees. There are a variety of ways to get involved including volunteering time to survey our trees, or even planting or sponsoring a treeBy working together, we can protect our urban trees and create a legacy for future generations.”

Catherine Brabner-Evans from the Woodland Trust said: “We want people in Bristol to really notice the trees in our streets, in our local parks, outside our shops and offices and see how vital they are for our health and wellbeing and for nature. We are pleased to be working in partnership with Bristol City Council, the Bristol Tree Forum and Forest of Avon Trust to help deliver a vision for a city rich in woods and trees and we want everyone to get involved – whether it’s sharing a photo, planting a tree or volunteering your time.

The Woodland Trust, which owns and manages Bishops Knoll woodland on the outskirts of Sneed Park, is giving away free trees to schools, communities and landowners who want to do large scale tree planting schemes to help Bristol reach its target. It is also looking for a major urban planting site. The Forest of Avon Trust is part of a national programme of Community Forests across England. So far, well over a million trees have been planted in and around Bristol. Forest of Avon also runs a range of projects such as woodland wellbeing and Forest School Programmes, and is training volunteers to survey Bristol’s trees. The Bristol Tree Forum is a group of volunteers who are dedicated to increasing the tree canopy cover in Bristol. Bristol City Council is responsible for protecting trees and managing trees on public land. They also run the One Tree Per Child programme and co-ordinate a tree sponsorship scheme for new planting.

All four partner organisations are dedicated to doubling the city’s canopy cover, and are working on a tree strategy action plan, but they need public support to achieve this ambitious vision.

  • To find out more and get involved, search #TalkingTreesBristol on Twitter, post a tree selfie or visit www.talkingtreesbristol.co.uk.
  • Learn more about the initiative at the #TalkingTreesBristol selfie stand at our nature-themed Green Mingle at We The Curious on Thursday 7 June – jointly hosted with Bristol Festival of Nature 2018. Book your place here.
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