A detailed study has revealed that there are some 600,000 trees growing in Bristol – and that they are worth £280 million to the city.
The study, funded by the Woodland Trust, Bristol City Council, Forestry Commission and the Forest of Avon Trust saw the latter work with 29 volunteers and local partners to discover the remarkable value of trees in Bristol.
It revealed Bristol’s trees store 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and remove 14,000 tonnes more each year, equivalent to annual carbon dioxide emissions of 9,000 cars.
It found that the worth to the city of £280 million included the cost to replace the trees, plus the value of the carbon stored in all the wood.
An infographic summarising the key findings is available here: https://forestofavontrust.org/admin/resources/documents/bristols-trees-summary.pdf and a summary report here https://forestofavontrust.org/admin/resources/documents/bristols-trees-key-findings.pdf
The partnership is asking people and businesses across Bristol to pledge their support and help plant trees and care for woodlands in a survey at https://forestofavontrust.org/projects-detail/itree-bristol-action-plan-for-bristols-trees
Jon Clark, Executive Director of the Forest of Avon Trust said:
“I would like to thank the volunteers who helped us with this study, which makes the case that Bristol’s trees have a really important role in mitigating the growing impact of climate change in the city as well as in managing the health impacts of vehicle and wider CO2 emissions. Looking after the trees we have now and working with communities across Bristol to plant many more of them will make the city a healthier, more sustainable place to live and one in which people will be actively involved.”
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, said:
“We have identified a need to increase the city’s tree canopy cover in order to enhance Bristol’s urban environment and provide a wealth of benefits. We are calling upon all citizens and businesses in Bristol to show their support for urban trees. I am delighted that our partnership was recognised at the recent Street Trees Awards, as it shows we are moving things in the right direction.”
The Woodland Trust’s South West External Affairs Manager Catherine Brabner-Evans said:
“Intuitively we know trees are good for us. They are the green lungs of our city. Urban trees bring life and colour, connecting us with nature, reducing stress, and boosting our mental health. Now we can also demonstrate the economic value of some of the services that trees provide. It is vital we protect our beautiful urban canopy and plant for future generations.”
Mark Ashdown, Chair of the Bristol Tree Forum said:
“We would like to commend Forest of Avon Trust for all their hard work and dedication to this important project. This report helps set the base line for the One City Plan’s goal to double Bristol’s tree canopy cover by 2046. It is an ambitious plan, but with the full support of Bristol City Council – ensuring that planners and developers always think ‘tree’, making sure that enough land is set aside for tree planting, protecting existing trees and ensuring that adequate funding is made available – we can all secure the future of Bristol’s urban forest and help Bristol’s citizens lead healthier, happier lives.”
The study also found that each year trees in Bristol provide environmental services worth around £1.6 million, removing about 100 tonnes of air pollution and reducing flood risk by soaking up some 90,000m3of water, preventing this from running into drains and saving us about £140,000 annually.
Bristol’s canopy cover is currently around 12%, but experts believe that the figure needs to increase this substantially to help us combat climate change and air pollution, protect biodiversity and promote health and wellbeing. Bristol’s One City Plan, published in January 2019, is calling for tree canopy cover to be doubled by 2046. This could be achieved if everyone in Bristol planted just three trees.