Natural woodland generation as an alternative to tree-planting

Several large-scale tree-planting projects are now being implemented, but these usually overlook an alternative means of expanding forest cover: natural regeneration. Aljos Farjon and Louise Hill discuss the problems with tree-planting, and explore the factors that influence the natural regeneration of oaks and other trees.

The UK, with tree cover of 13%, remains one of the least forested countries in Europe (FAO 2015). Appeals to rebuild British forests date back as far as Evelyn (1665), but they have gained momentum in recent times owing to increasing awareness of the value of native woodland.

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