Many trees are of historic, scientific or amenity interest.
Historic houses, gardens and sites are often important wildlife habitats too. Some trees and species like owls and bats and their roosts are protected by law.
All trees support a range of other wildlife which either feeds directly on the tree itself, or indirectly on something else which is feeding on the tree.
Even the smallest sapling will have a range of sap-sucking and leaf eating insects attacking it and these in turn will attract other insects, birds and even small mammals which feed on them.
Veteran and ancient trees
As a tree increases in size the wildlife it supports directly and indirectly also increases.
Larger trees provide nesting sites for birds and small mammals such as squirrels. But their value for other wildlife reaches its highest point when they pass maturity and start to become veteran, and then ancient, trees.
Veteran and ancient trees provide a wide range of opportunities for other wildlife, some of which are so specialised that they are only found on certain species of trees which are over 500 years old.
The Ancient Tree Forum has published a series of Ancient Tree Guides:
For more information on ancient trees visit the Ancient Tree Forum website.
UK Biodiversity Action Plan
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is the UK's initiative to maintain and enhance biodiversity. Organisations from across all sectors are committed to achieving the Plan's conservation goals over the next 20 years and beyond.
The Biodiversity Steering Group report, published in 1995, provided the blueprint for implementing BAP. It laid down the process for the targeting of endangered species and habitats, the formation of the action plans and the choice of lead partner and lead agency roles to co-ordinate the implementation of each plan.
The BAP has in place 28 Broad Habitat Statements of natural, semi-natural and urban habitats detailing the current issues affecting them and policies to address them.
The Broad Habitat Statements for trees and woodlands are divided into 'broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland' and 'coniferous woodland' and Priority Habitat Action Plans:
Broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland
- Lowland beech and yew woodland
- Lowland wood-pasture and parkland
- Upland mixed ashwoods
- Upland oakwood
- Wet woodland
More information and further reading on woodland habitats is available on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan website.
National tree week
National Tree Week is the Tree Council's festival to mark the start of the tree planting season, and a nationwide celebration of trees and woods.
National Tree Planting Year 1973 (with its slogan of 'Plant a Tree in 73') led to the founding of the The Tree Council to bring together organisations working for trees. It ran the first National Tree Week in 1975.
Up to a million trees are now planted each year as a result of this annual event, which usually takes place in late November.
Tree planting is a simple operation, but many schemes end in failure due to poor plant handling and aftercare.
Guidelines on the choice of plant stock, ground preparation, timing of planting, plant handling, planting methods, use of stakes and ties and application of mulches are available on request from the Tree Council.
View further information on the Tree Council or National Tree Week on the Tree Council website.
The Great Storm 1987
Millions of trees were felled and many historic parks and gardens badly damaged by the Great Storm of 1987 which swept through southern England. After the Storms reports on the restoration projects grant aided by English Heritage ten years on from 1987.