New woodlands can help reduce flooding risk within 15 years

New woodlands can help reduce flooding risk within 15 years

The planting of woodlands in upland areas could play a significant role in preventing the flash flooding which has increasingly affected communities across the UK in recent years.

A new study by the University of Plymouth has shown that within just 15 years of being planted, native broadleaf trees can have a marked impact on soil’s response during extreme weather events.

It means the huge quantities of rainwater generated can be more readily absorbed, rather than it simply running over the surface and into rivers where it subsequently causes severe flooding.

Writing in Land Degradation & Development, scientists say their findings show the establishment of more native woodlands in upland areas could be an effective and natural flood management tool.

This nature-based solution could be extremely timely, given the Government commitment to planting 30 million trees a year by 2025 and other environmental schemes designed to enhance carbon retention, biodiversity and flood prevention. They caution however, new woodlands will require careful placement if the benefits are to be maximised.

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