March 4, 2024

Conservationists have hailed the launch of a new government strategy to revive the remaining fragments of the vast temperate rainforests that were once “one of Britain’s natural crown jewels”.

Temperate rainforest, also known as Atlantic woodland or Celtic rainforest, once covered most of western Britain and Ireland. The archipelago’s wet, temperate conditions are ideal for lichens, mosses and liverworts. But centuries of destruction meant that only small, isolated pockets remained.

In England, only 189 sq km (46,624 hectares) of the ecosystem that once stretched from Cornwall to western Scotland survives, and it remains threatened by sheep overgrazing, invasive species and nitrogen pollution.

After three years of campaigning, the government the strategy published at the end of November to protect and restore England’s temperate rainforests, committing £750,000 for research and development.

The strategy includes a commitment to protect and restore internationally rare ecosystems and use public-private partnerships to help finance their conservation. There is also promise to reduce pressure from grazing by deer, which is one of the main factors preventing forest recovery. The government says it will work with farmers and landowners to protect areas of temperate rainforest on their land.

Guy Shrubsole, who leads the Lost Rainforests of Britain campaignsaid the move was “exciting” but called for a target to be set to double the area of ​​UK rainforests by 2050.

“Before 2021, no politician even mentioned temperate rainforests in the British Parliament. Now, the government itself has not only mentioned it, they have actually devoted entire official policy documents to this habitat,” he said. “It’s really cool to see.”

Shrub sole, who wrote a best-selling book about Britain’s rainforestsadded: “The government must set a very clear ambition: that it is about doubling the rainforests.

“They really need to tackle things like rhododendron and take into account overgrazing by sheep,” he said, urging members of the public to volunteer and continue to get involved in the effort.

Joan Edwards, director of policy for the Game Trusts, said: “Temperate rainforest is a globally rare habitat that was once one of Britain’s natural crown jewels. The remaining remains contain some of the highest floral diversity in the world, including a large variety of mosses, lichens, liverworts and ferns.

“We welcome the government’s intention to invest in temperate rainforest restoration and management, as part of protecting 30% of land by 2030, and look forward to a more detailed strategy in the coming months.”

Environmental organizations have long campaigned for a government strategy and to raise the profile of the ecosystem, including the Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, RSPB, National Trust and Plantlife. Members of the public helped map and identify remaining fragments by searching for indicator species such as lichens, mosses and liverworts.

The private sector has also contributed to the regeneration of the rainforests, with Aviva pledging £38m towards restoration efforts in February through the company’s sustainability program. Wildlife Trusts are working with the insurance firm, and Edwards said they are already putting the money to work to “expand British rainforests with projects already underway in North Wales, Devon and the Isle of Man”.

Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow paid tribute “to campaigners on this issue, who have led an inspiring movement, and I look forward to working with them in our shared effort to protect these unique places”.

She added: “The UK is home to globally rare temperate rainforests that support rich native habitats and rare species and plants. Most of our temperate rainforests are centuries old and form an important part of our natural heritage. It is essential that they are supported and protected for future generations.”

56
40
93
59
00
25
56
55
62
18
34
92
64
11
23
65
23
87
71
23
08
45
70
45
57
16
21
43
78
97
88
50
90
62
52
61
46
90
46
87
55
72
50
18
32
72
15
05
65
02
63
53
66
97
92
42
34
43
62
81
10
29
70
97
46
90
92
41
01
71
38
59
31
56
07
77
56
87
88
16
08
61
45
05
73
42
84
28
19
71
35
89
40
72
54
14
91
46
95
94
96
96
69
33
11
39
64
90
40
27
33
68
38
01
96
52
16
28
93
19
84
64
31
01
09
96
45
66
80
15
32
87
51
58
45
84
68
27
10
47
88
00
83
59
79
10
94
63
09
32
88
96
56
75
93
50
93
58
26
93
58
90
43
21
91
74
42
76
26
88
94
05
89
47
90
54
52
66
85
80
02
86
52
60
64
43
05
85
59
36
07
73
85
92
89
85
47
35
22
12
24
58
61
49
19
39
06
81
15
95
47
49
25
18
44
40
33
20
18
53
91
02
92
20
40
02
77
75
05
72
32
68
65
27
10
96
09
49
59
71
33
16
97
77
88
32
80
07
41
22
21
65
18
03
50
45
18
16
85
35
56
98
73
48
32
10
62
17
31
65
12
98
88
37
61
86
10
47
86
80
06
55
88
58
28
91
71
84
34
64
36
19
84
33
54
56
00
81
01
92
22
66
69
67
80
56
32
95
45
12
18
59
95
46
93
63
14
56
24
03
06
54
32
83
08
72
57
18
63
47
65
55
25
52
15
38
72
10
37
21
34
67
96
13
78
91
75
74
46
23
26
07
80
38
46
34
88
41
85
58
24
19
99
80
50
86
92
92
70
96
67
03
93
37
72
21
72
34
62
56
79
06
49
05
50
66
84
56
22
95
45
56
35
88
65
95
36
28
47
55
37
26
85
82
28
50
28
34
39
94
46
56
91
97
73
62
88
87
88
75
37
00
70
48
98
43
23
28
27
74
82
56
52
48
01
66
45
39
24
10
55
00
66
56
47
70
90
20
47
95
08
53
52
63
16
47
94
25
18
65
03
53
97
85
88
66
56
42
98
07
00
19
02
87
24
79
12
76
93
46
98
10
84
91
36
72
96
14
23
00
69
28
18
34
19
80
30
53
03
63
25
55
82
24
69
96
95
94
56
40
19
12
23
48
94
14
19
20
81
51
02
53
35
30
77
54
44
05
33
36
84
97
83
88
78
86
19
85
89
19
99
23
33
01
18
64
59
05
51
88
36
93
30
55
89
45
95
65
71
14
20
15
33
09
18
15
33
95
76
83
84
08
05
40
19
43
27
73
41
99
84
15
11
06
04
78

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *