The Welsh government has come up with a £2 million scheme to help tackle the climate emergency that will give a tree to every household in the country. This adds up to approximately 1.3 million newly planted trees.
People can choose tree species that are native to their region, but if they elect not to plant their free tree on their property, then Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales, will add those trees to woodland areas on these households’ behalf.
While Lee Waters, the country’s deputy climate change minister, acknowledges that this plan alone will only put a small dent in their goals (the country must “plant 86 million trees by the end of this decade” to meet their climate change targets he explains), the program will still help.
Scientists have doubted how effective tree planting is in the effort to reduce carbon emissions, however, while Waters agrees that there is an urgent need to innovate new solutions, he also insists that tree planting has several benefits on top of capturing carbon.
“We are in a climate emergency and that word emergency is really important,” he stresses. “We can’t wait for a perfect solution, and we have got to try stuff and we’ve got to do it fast.
“We know trees help deal with flooding, they help your well-being, there’s very good evidence that being around trees reduces your stress and your blood pressure. There’s evidence to show that areas with lots of trees have a lower crime rate,” he adds.
As for whether the team behind this scheme believes that people will be able to adequately nurture the trees they plant in their gardens, Jerry Langford of Coed Cadw is confident that they can.
“Trees are tough actually,” he says, “You’ve got to treat them pretty badly to kill a tree. So just a bit of tender loving care, and it will be fine.
“They need a supply of water, and they need to make sure they don’t get swamped by competing vegetation.”
Residents can pick up their trees from five hubs starting in March of next year, with 20 more opening in the fall of 2022.