The Woodland Trust has published a report this month entitled Healthy trees, healthy places, extolling the many benefits of trees in our developed communities. In its introduction, the report states "Towns and cities of the future will be characterised by a vibrant and thriving natural environment with well-maintained tree cover helping to create adapted and resilient places in which we live and work."
The report promotes the economic benefits and regenerative effects of establishing formal and informal woodland, as a cost effective alternative to grassed amenity areas. Trees are also useful contributors to mitigation measures against poor air quality and urban "heat islands". Green space promotes better physical and mental health, in facilitating more active lifestyles, with trees and woods said to have "a restorative and therapeutic effect on the mind". Tree planting can also play a role in water management, alleviating flood risk and improving water quality.
The report concludes with a call to "a strategic approach to maintaining and increasing tree cover as a part of green infrastructure" addressed to councils, developers and individuals alike: all can play their part in planning and management of trees, woods and other open green spaces in our existing and new communities.