04 27/04/2011

Chester Zoo joins bid to double number of native trees

Chester Zoo has rolled up its sleeves as part of a tree planting movement aiming to double the number of native trees and woods in the UK.

Staff from the zoo teamed up with children from Acresfield Primary School in Upton to help pupils plant 100 tree saplings - marking the launch of this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom campaign.

The campaign aims to make a significant contribution to increasing the number of trees in Britain.

The move comes as a recent United Nations (UN) report highlighted the UK as the second-least wooded country in Europe with just 12% forest cover. Finland topped the league of forest-clad countries with 73% cover and Sweden, Slovenia, Latvia and Estonia all exceed 50%. France and Germany were also shown as having close to three times the UK’s forest cover.

In an attempt to change this, RHS Britain in Bloom and the Woodland Trust are donating 200,000 free tree saplings to be planted by communities across the UK. The giveaway is in support of the UN’s 2011 International Year of Forests, designed to raise awareness of conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and recognise the benefits trees bring to our wildlife and communities.

Chester Zoo will be planting 1,400 of these trees - around its ponds, hedgerows and visitor car parks as well as in parts of the local community.

Mark Sparrow, Chester Zoo’s Horticulture Programme Coordinator, said:

“The idea of the tree-planting movement is to bring people together to help improve their local communities through long-term, sustainable projects, which are also beneficial for wildlife”.

The zoo also hopes the project will help create awareness about the decline of some of the UK’s native tree species.

“When people hear that a species is threatened they usually instantly think about animals. But in fact, there are some native plant species that are now rarer than the giant panda,” added Mr Sparrow.

“But hopefully, if we can get more and more people caring about the trees and woodlands around them, then not only will threatened species start to thrive, we will also all live in greener, more pleasant surroundings.”


Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS

UN REPORT:

Information on the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) report:

http://gabrielhemery.com/2011/02/28/european-countries-and-their-forest-cover/

About the RHS:
The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people’s lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities, whether they are expert horticulturalists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

The RHS Britain in Bloom and RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood campaigns support more than 2,000 groups around the UK in cleaning up and greening up their local areas.

The two programmes provide advice and support, recognition and reward for those making long-term improvements to their locality. Communities of all sizes take part, from residents improving their surroundings to local authorities tackling metropolitan areas.

For more information on RHS community activities, visit www.rhs.org.uk/communities

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

About the Woodland Trust:
The Woodland Trust is the UK's leading woodland conservation charity. The partnership with the RHS is part of the Trust's ‘More Trees, More Good’ campaign, which aims to double the number of native woods and trees in the UK. In order to maximize the benefits which trees can bring to people, wildlife and the environment in a changing climate, the UK needs to plant 20 million native trees per year – but at the moment we’re planting just 6 million. 'More Trees More Good’ offers a range of support to enable individuals, communities and organisations to plant their own trees. Find out more at www.moretreesmoregood.org.uk