When done well, tree planting is recognised as one of the most engaging, environmentally friendly activities that people can take part in to better the planet. Trees provide a multitude of benefits, both long and short term. As well as being attractive aesthetically, they remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, slow heavy rain and so reduce the risk of flooding, enhance air quality and improve the urban heat island effect by reflecting sunlight and providing shade. In addition, the physical weight of a tree consists of approximately 50% carbon, as such trees have a strong climate change mitigation effect when in high enough numbers. Some of these benefits such as the mitigation of the urban heat island effect and improvements to air quality are localised and will bring the most benefits to the people who live and otherwise spend their time in the local area. Other benefits such as the removal of carbon from the atmosphere will benefit the wider population, not just those who live the most locally.
Trees greatly benefit the people living around them by having a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing, reducing stress and encouraging outdoor exercise. This is in addition to the benefits they will receive from an improved environmental quality and improved amenity which comes with planted areas.
Creating a forest for a growing city
Forest for Peterborough began in 2010 with the aim to plant a tree for every person in Peterborough by 2030, a number that is now projected to grow to 230,00. To date, F4P have planted over 100,000 trees with 6,106 trees planted last season which ran from October 2017 to March 2018. Forest for Peterborough has brought together many businesses through volunteer tree planting days, enabling companies to give back to the city, making it a more beautiful and healthier place to live and work. The project engages landowners, communities, businesses and other stakeholders to improve their local environment. It offers volunteer opportunities and provides an educational experience along with the opportunity to do something positive for the local community in an open, friendly environment.
There are numerous benefits that the project brings to the community:
- Builds community spirit and unity
- Educates communities about the benefits of trees and nature
- Brings economic benefits to an area by reducing green-space maintenance costs and by raising house prices on aesthetic grounds
- Positive impact on mental health and wellbeing, reducing stress and encouraging outdoor activities
- Removes and stores Carbon from the air
- Reduces flood risk
- Creates wildlife habitat
- Improved aesthetics
- Provides shade
- Reduces green space maintenance costs
- Provides oxygen
- Cleans the air, absorbs odours and pollutants
- Prevents soil erosion
- Provides food; Apples, Pears, Cherry’s, Plums
- Increases pollinator numbers
- Trees benefit the soil conditions
- Reduces pollutants
Forest for Peterborough provides local communities with the opportunity to plant trees and learn about nature and woodlands. Tree planting days are designed to educate and enable the public to play a part in establishing a Forest for Peterborough. During event days people are taught how to plant a tree use tools correctly and have general conversations around the importance of biodiversity and how they can develop and protect a woodland environment, as well as teaching the important role trees have played through the centuries and their relevance today. In addition to learning tree planting skills, communities learn about all aspects of tree maintenance and care, as well as the different species being planted, and further knowledge around pest and diseases, land management and conservation.