Tree planting has long been a major part of conservation work. There are many reasons why we plant trees, including:
Providing a more varied habitat for wildlife
Capturing carbon from the atmosphere, potentially mitigating climate change
Creating shade to cover watercourses, keeping the water temperature cool on warm days
Improving soil structure, which allows the soil to absorb a greater quantity of water
Reducing water run off- therefore reducing the amount of soil, fertiliser, pesticides, and other pollutants reaching the rivers and streams
Reducing the likelihood of flash flooding, benefiting both residents of the area and the spawning fish which lay their eggs in the catchment’s waters.
The Ribble Catchment has approximately 13% woodland cover, which is one of the lowest percentages in the UK. This shows that most of the catchment’s 1,500 miles of rivers and streams lacking riparian woodland.
The woodlands that are being created for the Ribble Life Together project have been carefully chosen in order to ensure they provide the greatest benefits. To help us to choose the woodland locations we used a GIS mapping tool. When various datasets were entered into the GIS system, the tool analysed this data and highlighted priority areas.
One of the main areas highlighted was the Skirden catchment, which covers the area around Tosside and Bolton-by-Bowland. Four of the farms in this area agreed to the creation of new woodlands. As a result almost 14,000 trees have been planted over almost nine hectares.
As this work was carried out in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the Forest of Bowland AONB, and the RSPB were consulted during the design process. This helped to ensure that the woodland creation would not disturb any important habitats such as those used by breeding waders.
Find out more about our woodlands:
The trees have been planted with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Environment Agency, Woodland Trust, and the EU LIFE Natural Course.