The Welsh Parliament has voted on a scheme that will make around 1.3 million trees available to households across Wales.
The £2 million program will encourage homeowners to plant one tree in an effort to combat the damaging effects of climate change.
Welsh citizens will have a choice of several native species to plant in their gardens or have added to a woodland area on their behalf.
Speaking at a visit to a notable Coed Cadw woodland creation project in Neath during the National Tree Week, Wales Deputy Minister for Climate Change confirmed that the Welsh Government had partnered with the Woodland Trust to deliver the tree planting campaign.
Minister Lee Waters said the scheme would help “save lives by keeping our air clean and improving people’s physical and mental health”.
Mr. Waters also added that they are essential for helping to tackle Wales nature emergency by improving biodiversity but added that there still needed to be a more significant increase in planting trees across the UK.
Scientists have long debated whether tree planting should be used as a viable means of combatting carbon emissions. However, Mr. Waters said there was an urgent need to try new and radical initiatives and that the benefits of tree planting go beyond capturing carbon.
“We are in a climate emergency and that word emergency is really important. We can’t wait for a perfect solution and we have got to try stuff and we’ve got to do it fast.” Mr. Waters stated.
“We know trees help deal with flooding, they help your well-being, there’s very good evidence that being around trees reduces your stress and your blood pressure. There’s evidence to show that areas with lots of trees have a lower crime rate.”
Natalie Buttriss of Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales, said, “While tree-planting is only one way to help tackle climate change, it is a simple and enjoyable way for every single person in Wales to have the chance to plant a tree and watch it grow.”
The trees will be available from five hubs from March, with a further 20 in the autumn of 2022.
“This project will be open to all types of people living in Wales and we hope it will inspire many individuals and local community groups to become involved.” Natalie Buttriss stated, “We want people from all backgrounds to be part of planting the National Forest for Wales”
Coed Cadw will plant the trees when citizens opt not to have one planted in their gardens and the deputy minister also revealed that a consultation would launch early in 2022 on plans to create a National Forest for Wales.
Research presented by the woodland trust argues that woodland ecosystems play a considerable role in soaking up our atmospheric carbon.
Wales tree planting scheme would be able to remove around 400+ tons of carbon per hectare of mixed woodland species planted, a vital step in delaying the climate emergency.