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The National Forest Contributes to EU Study on the Health of Our Natural Environment

Tuesday, 6th September 2011

The National Forest is taking part in a major EU study into how we look after the natural systems that are crucial for human wellbeing.

Simon Evans, Director of External Operations for the National Forest Company, is in Brussels this week to present The National Forest as a case study for EU strategy on green infrastructure planning. Building a green infrastructure means providing a network of green areas and features in rural and urban landscapes that helps ecosystems survive and adapt to climate change.

Evans explains: ‘It goes without saying that we humans depend on food and freshwater. It is vital that we look after the ecosystems – the natural environment and how all parts of it work together – to ensure a reliable supply of both.

‘Having planted nearly 8 million trees and tripled the woodland cover throughout its 200 square miles, The National Forest has an established track record of creating and extending habitats and conditions for ecosystems to thrive. The Forest landscape encompasses substantial towns, villages, transport corridors and industrial areas as well as open space and farmland, and right back in the early 1990s, our original strategy document spelt out the need to maximise ecological conservation.’

Evans concludes: ‘We have been invited to speak at this prestigious conference because of our approach at The National Forest to creating green infrastructure, what we have achieved, our success factors and how others can benefit from our experience. What we have learned can help shape European thinking and practice.’

The case studies will enrich a workshop programme that features presentations on other EU projects. These look at the design, implementation and cost elements of green infrastructure projects, and the effectiveness and efficiency of national and regional green infrastructure initiatives in terms of biodiversity and broader ecosystem benefits and the impact of relevant EU policies on green infrastructure.

The attendance list includes scientists, practitioners and representatives from the EU, national and regional administrative bodies, professional organisations and NGOs. The results of the conference will help to strengthen green infrastructure policies and encourage green infrastructure initiatives at all levels.