Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home NewsLocal News Massive Reforestation drive in North Devon

Massive Reforestation drive in North Devon

Rachel McEwan writes on Devon's new environmental project
3 mins read
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Image via Lewis Clarke, Wikimedia Commons

When the phrase “save the rainforests” is heard, many think of tropical rainforests like the Amazon which spans across South America. Few think of Britain. Rainforests in Britain may seem unrealistic, but they used to cover an entire fifth of the country. Now they only cover 1%.

Rainforests are diverse ecosystems that support all kinds of vibrant wildlife and vegetation. Many plants were used for ancient medicinal purposes and may provide the answer to modern-day diseases too. But not if they are extinct. 

A victim of air pollution, invasive species, disease and general lack of care, Britain’s temperate rainforest coverage has largely deteriorated over the past few centuries. They are one of Britain’s most endangered environments, leaving behind only a few fragments in Devon, Cornwall, North and West Wales, Cumbria, the west of Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland.

A victim of air pollution, invasive species, disease and general lack of care, Britain’s temperate rainforest coverage has largely deteriorated

Aided by the National Trust, more than 100,000 trees are being planted in north Devon to boost the rainforest population in Britain. The project is focused on the expansion, rather than the preservation, of these rainforests to re-establish their presence in England, following the success of similar projects in Scotland. The reforestation sites include Woolacombe and Hartland, Exmoor and Arlington Court, near Barnstaple. The damp and fairly mild climate creates ideal conditions for their growth. Planting on the edge of already established woodland areas eases the pressure of the rare plants’ regeneration. 

Many locals are taking part in the project, including volunteers, schoolchildren and community groups. Once these sites have been established they can provide huge socio-environmental benefits for the local community and environment, improving the local air quality and curating recreational hotspots for residents and tourists. 

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