The conference brings together world class speakers with leading-edge information about tree science, tree function and global reforestation strategies. Gaia is proud to be a partner of the conference. Article by Will Gethin for The Ecologist.

Speakers include Bruce Parry, Dr Alan Rayner, Diana Beresford Kroeger and Wendy Stephenson

Citizen-led proposals for tree planting and global reforestation will be debated and explored at The Tree Conference at the Red Brick Building in Glastonbury on Saturday 4 November. Leading-edge tree scientists, tree and reforestation project leaders, climate change experts and artists will come together to share their research, practical projects and visions for re-greening our future.

Suzi Martineau, Organiser of The Tree Conference, says:

Mounting evidence shows that trees have a crucial role to play in sustaining our ecosystem’s future. In November 2015, the UN leader’s statement on Forests and Climate Change stated that ‘Reducing emissions from and enhancing removals through forests can reduce billions of tons of emissions per year and are essential to prevent catastrophic climate change.

So we’re delighted to be showcasing so many inspirational tree projects, organisations and artists, providing a unique networking platform and space to explore how the UK can give back to the world by tree planting. This will be the first conference to give regular UK citizens and tree lovers the chance to feed into this debate and directly contribute to this movement to safeguard our forest cover, water and soil security for generations to come.

Keynote speakers at the conference will include Bruce Parry, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Alan Rayner, and Clare Dubois and Wendy Stephenson of TreeSisters, while the day’s lively panel discussion will feature Professor Sir David Read, lead author of the Forestry Commission’s report Combating Climate Change: A Role for UK Trees. The day’s key talks and debates will be broadcast to a global audience via Livestream.

The Woodland Trust are among the many partners supporting the conference, who will be sharing information about their Charter for Trees, Woods and People, to be launched on Monday 6 November, inaugurating the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.  Other conference partners include the Royal Forestry Society (the foremost forestry accreditation body), the International Tree Foundation, The Gaia Foundation and Treeconomics.

The conference will also be sharing recent unexpected breakthroughs made by Wendy Stephenson, Treasurer of global reforestation charity TreeSisters. Wendy is also CEO of Converging World, a charity investing in renewable energy which uses the surplus funds for reforestation.

Wendy Stephenson says: “Reforestation is a no brainer in terms of the cost to reduce 1 tonne of C02 with any technology like solar or wind compared to a tree and the many benefits it brings, not least because they keep us alive. And most technology only avoids CO2 it does not sequester it. We have to do it all, and we need to accelerate sequestration through reforestation which is one of the most cost effective ways of cooling the planet. It also serves so many other aspects of restoring our world, including  biodiversity, water retention and microclimate.

Other questions to be explored at The Tree Conference include:

•    Which trees can accommodate predicted temperature changes in the UK?
•    What can be done to prevent the forest fires that have plagued the US, Europe and Russia this year?
•    How can we support the health of Ash, Chestnut, Oak and Conifers?
•    How can the government meet it’s pledge to plant 11 million trees in two years?
•    When is reforestation not the answer for some landscapes?
•    Why wait until 2050 to become Carbon Neutral?

Clare Dubois, Founder of TreeSisters, says:
We’re thrilled to be part of The Tree Conference. Tree planting and reforestation are initiatives whose time has come. This conference provides an exemplary template for other conferences to use worldwide. It also underlines that it’s time for us all to step into a much deeper relationship with trees. Trees offer us profound templates for how to live, and how to communicate and build resilience together, as well as for how to survive as a species. Let’s collectively seed trees in our hearts and minds and make reforestation core to everything we do.

Trees offer us profound templates for how to live, and how to communicate and build resilience together

Originally published in the Ecologist on 6th October 2017