The study, the initiative of a partnership between us, Bristol City Council, the Woodland Trustand the Forest of Avon Trust, saw the latter work with 29 volunteers and local partners to help uncover the remarkable story of our Bristol trees.
Using the latest i-Tree Eco 6 model, the survey ran between May and September 2018 and has revealed that Bristol’s trees store around 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and remove about 14,000 tonnes more each year – equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of some 9,000 cars.
The study also found that Bristol’s urban forest is worth around £280 million. This includes the cost of replacing the trees, plus the value of all the carbon stored in all the wood.
Each year trees in Bristol provide environmental services worth around £1.6 million, removing about 100 tonnes of air pollution and reducing flood risk by soaking up some 90,000 cubic metres of water thereby preventing this from running into drains and saving us about £140,000 annually.
Bristol’s tree canopy cover is currently around 12%. However, experts believe that this figure needs to increase substantially to help us combat the effects of climate change and air pollution, and protect biodiversity and promote our health and wellbeing.
Bristol’s One City Plan, published in January 2019, is calling for tree canopy cover to be doubled by the end of 2045. That means adding another 1,316 hectares of new trees by adding around 53 hectares of new tree plantings annually for the next 25 years. This is an ambitious goal, but it could be achieved if everyone in Bristol planted just three new trees each.
Bristol’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, said:
We have identified a need to increase the city’s tree canopy cover in order to enhance Bristol’s urban environment and provide a wealth of benefits. We are calling upon all citizens and businesses in Bristol to show their support for urban trees.
I am delighted that our partnership was recognised at the recent Street Trees Awards, as it shows we are moving things in the right direction.
Mark Ashdown, Chair of the Bristol Tree Forum said:
The Forum would like to commend Forest of Avon Trust for all their hard work and dedication to this important project. This report helps set the base line for the One City Plan’s goal to double Bristol’s tree canopy cover by 2046. It is an ambitious plan, but with the full support of Bristol City Council – ensuring that planners and developers always think ‘tree’, making sure that enough land is set aside for tree planting, protecting existing trees and ensuring that adequate funding is made available – we can all secure the future of Bristol’s urban forest and help Bristol’s citizens lead healthier, happier lives.
I would like to thank the volunteers who helped us with this study, which makes the case that Bristol’s trees have a really important role in mitigating the growing impact of climate change in the city as well as in managing the health impacts of vehicle and wider CO2 emissions. Looking after the trees we have now and working with communities across Bristol to plant many more of them will make the city a healthier, more sustainable place to live and one in which people will be actively involved.
The Woodland Trust’s South West External Affairs Manager Catherine Brabner-Evans said:
Intuitively we know trees are good for us. They are the green lungs of our city. Urban trees bring life and colour, connecting us with nature, reducing stress, and boosting our mental health. Now we can also demonstrate the economic value of some of the services that trees provide. It is vital we protect our beautiful urban canopy and plant for future generations.
If you would like to help us plant, protect and care for Bristol’s trees, please complete our five-minute survey HERE. The survey closes on May 3rd, 2019.