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Sign the tree charter



The Charter for trees, woods and people sets out the principles for a society in which people and trees can stand stronger together.

The Tree Charter was launched in Lincoln Castle on 6 November 2017; the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.

The Tree Charter is rooted in more than 60,000 ‘tree stories’ gathered from people of all backgrounds across the UK.

The Tree Charter Principles articulate the relationship between people and trees in the UK in the 21st Century. The final Charter will provide guidance and inspiration for policy, practice, innovation and enjoyment, redefining the everyday benefits that we all gain from woods and trees in our lives, for everyone, from Government to businesses, communities and individuals.

A tree will be planted for every person who signs the Charter.

The Charter has 10 principle themes. The RFS has taken a lead on developing four: Utility and Livelihoods - a thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK.

Principle Themes

 
1. Nature  - Each tree is a world within itself, teeming with life. A fallen branch is a feast for beetles, fungal-rich woodland soil is a wildflower bed. A hedgerow is a living network, where a host of creatures share their home. Forests are full of opportunities for people, but their natural wealth is the wildlife. Our future good means thinking in the round, adapting plans to what is on the ground. New urban and transport projects should make routes for our native wildlife to move forward too. Take heed of nature’s needs.
                                     
2. Planting - When we enjoy the company of a treasured tree or the beauty of a favourite wood we often owe thanks to those with the foresight and confidence to invest in the future. We must show that same generosity of spirit, that same sense of hope for the future, and plant more now. Line streets with living greenery, let trees allow shifting colour into every life. More orchards for communities, more hedges for wildlife, more forests for timber and jobs. Nurture people’s pride in their local trees and empower them to care for their future. Right tree, right place, bright future.

3. Arts and Heritage - Stories have always grown on trees. Artists are drawn to their intricacies. Woods are rooted in memories, but it’s the leaf mould of tales told that nourishes future growth. The poetry of trees is always living, for every older work sends out new shoots. We grow attached to trees in books and learn to look for them in life. We feel connected to trees we know and love to see them painted well. Celebrate Tree Charter Day each year to strengthen this cultural legacy and help our living traditions thrive.  
                              
4. Utility and Livelihoods - Peace grows quietly in tree-lined places, where bees, fresh scents and birdsong revive our jaded senses. Sprays of greenery ensure cleaner air and clearer minds, and fitter bodies, more inclined to take a walk or meet a friend. Spirits lift and stress recedes when we stroll through healing glades. Parks and woodlands keep us well and help to quell fears of illness, ageing, loss – we breathe more freely under trees. Healthcare and tree-care go hand in hand: harness the therapeutic power of trees.  
                   
5. Protection  -  Ancient woods have been continuously wooded since before records started: they are living descendants from Britain’s prehistory. A tree may be a village’s oldest inhabitant, a founding figure in a region’s identity, a natural monument in the nation’s story. Thorn-bushes and hedgerows harbour our history. Old orchards are habitats for some of our rarest species and living museums of disappearing ways of life. A country that cares for its future cares for its past: we need laws and commitment to protect these irreplaceable natural treasures.

6.  Planning  - Forests, woods and trees all flourish under the stewardship of skilled professionals. Trees reward us with fuel for enterprise, craft and invention, green energy and fires. Consider the source of wooden products and choose the home-grown from well-managed forests. Teach the rising generation that with responsible management a wooded land is a thriving nation.
                                    
7. Health and Wellbeing -  The trees that touch us most are those that live among us, along our street, in the local park, beside our school or place of work. Like us, they grow and change, need space to breathe and support to thrive. Trees give places their distinctive character. Local community networks have a vital role to play in caring for woods and trees. Trees provide long-lasting good, so well-informed planning reaps long-term rewards. Take guidance on planting, felling and replanting from skilled professionals. Good landscapes of the future depend on care for trees today.
      
8. People and Access to trees - Trees offer shared experience to every age, religion and race. In woods people can work together, sharing experiences and learning from each other and their natural surroundings. Those who no longer move with ease can still find pleasure among the trees. Cheerful voices ring through leaves, from makeshift pitches and games of make-believe. There should be room for us all beneath spreading canopies.
           
9. Coping with Threats -  Pests, diseases and climate change pose serious threats to our precious trees. Enlightened management of woods will help ensure their future health: planting strong seeds and saplings, selecting species suited to the site, keeping forests mixed in age and kind, regular thinning, combatting invasive plants, and controlling infections and pests at the earliest sign.
                   
10. Environment  - The trees that touch us most are those that live among us, along our street, in the local park, beside our school or place of work. Like us, they grow and change, need space to breathe and support to thrive. Trees give places their distinctive character. Local community networks have a vital role to play in caring for woods and trees. Trees provide long-lasting good, so well-informed planning reaps long-term rewards. Take guidance on planting, felling and replanting from skilled professionals. Good landscapes of the future depend on care for trees today.
                                    
www.treecharter.uk