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England’s trees key to future well-being  A vision of how England’s trees, woods and forests can yield environmental, social and economic benefits for future generations was set out by Barry Gardiner, Minister for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs. From helping to combat climate change to boosting business opportunities, a new Strategy for England Trees, Woods and Forests - http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/rddteam/forestry.htm -highlights the potential of these important natural resources to improve life for people and wildlife. The strategy shows how long-term sustainable management of trees, woods and forests can help people and wildlife adapt to a changing climate and how people can make the most of their local woodlands. It also highlights the way in which woodlands protect and enhance natural resources, improve urban environments, and promote better markets for sustainable woodland products and services. Many schemes around the country are already helping to meet the strategy’s objectives. Barry Gardiner today visited a former Nottinghamshire coalfield community where local people have play a vital role in the Sherwood Forest Community Rangers Project to transform 2,000 acres of collier waste into community woods with 30 miles of footpaths and tracks and spectacular views across open countryside. “We have a vision of what we want England’s trees, woods and forests to look like in the years to come. More important, we know what we want them to do for the generations who follow. This strategy shows how we can meet the challenges and opportunities of making our trees and woodlands productive, healthy and attractive throughout the decades to come. “Trees and woodlands make a big difference to the quality of people’s lives, enhancing where they live and work, so people must be able to get involved in planning and caring for them too. What we want to see is the right trees in the right places, where they can contribute most in terms of environmental, economic and social benefits. “Climate change is the biggest challenge – sustainable managed woodlands can help to cut carbon emissions, and we must plan and act now if our woodlands are to be adaptable to future conditions. Native plants and animals will need a network of habitats within which they can move to find the best conditions to live as the climate changes.” A delivery plan to implement the strategy will be produced by the Forestry Commission and Natural England in partnership with other key organisations. Lord Clark of Windermere, Chairman of the Forestry Commission, said: “The Forestry Commission welcomes the publication of A Strategy for England’s Trees, Woods and Forests. With our partners, we have a vital role to play to ensure the Government’s aim to provide attractive, productive and healthy woodlands becomes a viable and sustainable reality, both now and for future generations. “The Sherwood Community Rangers Project is an excellent example of the way the Forestry Commission works in partnership with local communities and other organisations to regenerate disused industrial land; to create green spaces for people to enjoy and to improve habitats for wildlife.“ SOURCE: DEFRA