Charter infographic timeline FINAL

Since the beginning of recorded history people and trees in the UK have been drifting apart.

Trees have stood up for people since the beginning of human history, providing fuel for our fires, shelter from the elements, timber for our buildings, and places for inspiration and relaxation. To our ancestors trees held a special sacred status due to their vital role in everyday life and the emotions they stirred, and the UK’s history, language, culture, literature, art and industry are all rooted in our trees and woods.

Every year we learn more about the ways that we benefit from trees. Their role in cleaning the air, conserving soil, lowering flood risk, improving mental and physical health and supporting huge numbers of important species become ever more apparent. The relatively recent rise of plantation forestry as an industry, meanwhile, has paved the way for woodland livelihoods to be more economically and environmentally sustainable.

Despite all of this, society in the UK has never been more disconnected from its trees. Individuals are less likely to spend time in woods, including children who are spending more and more time in front of screens at the expense of ‘wild time’. When we spend less time with trees it is easier to ignore the issues they face, and our woods and trees are facing huge threats to their future from pests, diseases, climate change and pressure from development.

If we don’t bring trees and woods back to the centre of life in the UK, we risk losing them from our lives and landscapes.

We need to stop taking trees for granted, recognise and celebrate their huge contribution to our lives, and take responsibility for their welfare.

It’s our time. It’s our future. It’s our charter.

Click on the graphic for a full-size printable version.