Forestry Commission reveals top 10 reasons to love trees

To celebrate St Valentine’s Day, Forestry Commission England has revealed their top 10 reasons why they love trees, along with the top 10 most romantic walks from across the public forest estate.

Heart Leaf - The Forestry Commission
Heart Leaf – The Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission is using 14 February to encourage everyone to visit their local forest. Couples are encouraged to take of the top 10 romantic walks; families can help Stick Man find his way back to his family tree to be united with his lady love along three self-led trails, and singles can “let the uniquely inspiring effects of clouds, sunlight and the motion of leaves in the breeze allow you to unwind from the stresses of everyday life” with more than 1,500 miles of trails to enjoy.

In a statement the commission explained: The poet Joyce Kilmer once wrote ‘I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree…’ and here at Forestry Commission England we find it hard to disagree.

“Trees mean something to everyone; and with the myths, fairy tales, and history that surrounds them, we believe it makes woods and forests some of the most romantic places on earth.”

10 Reasons to Love Trees:

  1. Around 1,500 wildlife species are thought to rely on a single English oak tree, for breeding, feeding, resting, roosting, shelter and safety.
  2. When lost, it is possible to use trees to assist in navigation. In northern temperate climates, moss will grow on the northern side of the tree trunk, where it is shadier. Failing that, if you find the stump of a tree that has been cut down, you can observe the rings of the tree to discover which direction north is. In the northern hemisphere, the rings of growth in a tree trunk are slightly thicker on the southern side, which receives more light. The converse is true in the southern hemisphere.
  3. In WW1 soldiers used to leave love notes on trees for their wives and girlfriends that included times, dates, thoughts and feelings. Love messages can still be found on trees today and are known as ‘arboglyphs’. The commission says it “obviously” doesn’t advocate damaging trees but that for historic reference they can be interesting finds.
  4. Trees are among the world’s oldest living things – Ancient trees have borne witness to society’s favourite love stories, have seen the rise and fall of civilisations and have survived changing climates; they are nature’s true survivor.
  5. People really, really love trees – In Melbourne, the city council devised an urban forest map which gave each tree an individual number so residents could email them to report damaged branches. What they didn’t expect to happen was the trees themselves to receive personal emails of admiration and expressions of love.
  6. The estimated value to the economy of the ecosystem service provided by trees and woodland wildlife in the UK is £680 million.
  7. Trees filter and clean the air around us. By absorbing airborne pollution they boost oxygen levels. A single tree will produce enough oxygen for a family of four every single day.
  8. Some trees can “talk” to each other. When willows are attacked by webworms and caterpillars, they emit a chemical that alerts nearby willow of the danger. The neighboring trees then respond by pumping more tannin into their leaves making it difficult for the insects to digest the leaves.
  9. Trees provide a natural health service – So strong is the connection between trees and health and well-being that NHS trusts are being advised to see trees in the grounds of hospitals as a fundamentally important part of creating a positive healing environment for patients.
  10. In Japan the health benefit of spending time in amongst the trees in the forests is so treasured that it has its own word, shinrinyoku, which literally means ‘forest bathing’.


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