Friday 18 December 2020


 As a long-standing lover of trees and enemy of the fashionable delusion that we can never have too many of them, I was delighted to find this piece by John Lewis-Stempel in the excellent online magazine Unherd. It deploys a range of strong, I would say unanswerable, arguments against the absurd programmes of mass tree planting and 'rewilding' that are being proposed and enacted at an accelerating rate, driven by mistaken ideas about 'climate change' and the nature of the countryside – not to mention that curious phenomenon, wildwood nostalgia. I wrote (more sketchily and less eloquently than J.L-S.) about all this last year, when an earlier wave of insane proposals threatened to engulf the land in billions of densely planted trees. As Lewis-Stempel makes clear, this (or anything like it) would be an environmental catastrophe, only worsening all the problems it purports to solve – and creating quite a few others too, not least for farmers. It would also be extremely bad news for butterflies, which need open, carefully managed woodland, treeless downs and heaths, open grassland and flower meadows – land, that is, exposed to the sun, not shaded over with impenetrable plantations of trees. 

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