Why plant trees?

Many books have been written on the remarkable lifecycle, role and value of trees and it is safe to say that human beings would struggle to survive in a world without them.

From cleaning the air we breathe to improving the curb-appeal of our streets and providing shade on a hot sunny day, we need trees.


Trees and woodland are vital for our environment, biodiversity, economy, industry, and the health and wellbeing of our communities. As some of the longest living plants on our planet, trees give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and provide essential habitats for wildlife.

New woodland carefully placed in a rural river valley will, over time, help reduce flooding in the towns and cities further downstream. Whilst strategically placed urban woodland can help reduce the damaging impact of surface water flooding within our communities.

Leeds city centre
Urban trees help clean and cool the air in our towns and cities, making a significant contribution to our mental and physical wellbeing. Trees also encourage us to enjoy more time being active outside and help reduce our stress levels.

A well designed and maintained urban forest helps to boost investor confidence and create new jobs and businesses.

And of course, trees and woodlands, when carefully designed into the wider landscape, provide fantastic habitat for nature, protecting soil, water courses and species migration corridors to help wildlife adapt to a changing climate.

Did you know?

Tree lined canal path
  • We share about 50% of our DNA with trees.
  • Each growing season a young tree grows in thickness and in height, adding a whole new layer to itself that is visible in its annual rings.
  • In Northern climates, coniferous trees stop growing in early July each year because they know when it is time to start preparing for winter.
  • In the UK, as reported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in 2015, we had only 13% tree cover compared to a European Union average of 38%.

Find out more

To find out more about the benefits and importance of trees, here are links to further information from some of our White Rose Forest partners:

The Woodland Trust website includes several articles about the importance of trees.

Forest Carbon has produced a short, animated film to explain the importance of planting more trees.

The Forestry Commission has published a leaflet about the benefits of tree planting as well as many of the funding options. Our team can provide free advice about the funding options available for tree planting projects of all sizes in North and West Yorkshire.

United Bank of Carbon supports a number of research publications about the science behind the need to protect and restore our woodland and green spaces.

Zero Carbon Harrogate has brought together a range of information on their website to explore what we need to do to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the UK.

The England Tree Action Plan 2021-24 sets out the government’s long-term vision for the treescape it wants to see in England by 2050 and beyond.  This publication includes information about the benefits of trees and woodlands.

Forest Research has published a study about the mental health benefits of woodland. The 2021 research estimates that visits to UK woodlands are estimated to save £185 million in the costs associated with treatment for mental health illnesses annually.

The Woodland Wildlife Toolkit website provides practical advice about managing woodland for wildlife. You can search for wildlife that are likely to be found in your local woodland, download species factsheets and access woodland management planning templates.