Connected Treescapes will explore the value of trees, including the benefits for people’s wellbeing, cultural heritage and wildlife.
Trees connect us to nature, improve our wellbeing and help tackle climate change. These connections are a key theme in Connected Treescapes. Focusing on trees and woodlands that connect towns and cities with the countryside, this project will look at the changing relationships between human societies and trees in the past, present, and future.
Trees in these areas could bring countless benefits to society due to their closeness to housing and people. But restoring them brings up challenges. Firstly, there are competing land-use needs from leisure, housing and building development, and also from complex mosaics of land ownership.
In addition, restoration is ever more challenging due to climate change, pests and diseases. So, more work is needed to ensure that the Government can secure the benefits of treescapes in these areas in the face of these risks.
Connected Treescapes will improve our understanding of these risks and the benefits we could achieve. The team will explore the value of trees to society, including benefits for people’s wellbeing, cultural heritage and wildlife. And the team will provide tools and knowledge to better equip decision-makers to deliver resilient treescapes for the benefit of all.
“Our project will not only identify what opportunities there are for planting new trees and woodlands, but also highlight the ecological and cultural importance of protecting those we already have.”
– Professor Piran White, Project Lead
The team will look at historical data to assess the connections between trees to animals, plant life and natural recovery. They will also use historical information to explore the human connection to trees and the links to health, wellbeing and cultural value. And they will look at how these factors have impacted the role and shape of present-day trees and woodlands.
They will then explore the opportunities, barriers and pathways to expanding treescapes in these areas. They will do this by identifying connections between management decisions and new partnerships across the public, private and third sectors.
Finally, using this new understanding they will consider how the Government can successfully meet its goal of expanding tree cover in the UK, whilst also ensuring our treescapes are resilient and beneficial to all.
“Our focus on community woodlands will help to improve access to nature and better health outcomes for communities most in need.”
Piran White, University of York
University of York
University of Strathclyde
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
University of Derby
University of Edinburgh
The James Hutton Institute