Rainforests, typically associated with tropical regions, are a rare and significant ecosystem in the United Kingdom. Once covering approximately a fifth of the country, these unique woodlands now account for just one percent of the land. The National Trust has recognized the value of these rainforests, often referred to as the "Celtic rainforest" and aims to protect and expand them. This report explores the National Trust's initiatives, the importance of rainforests, and their alignment with the vision of the global society and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Celtic rainforests in the UK, characterized by twisted oaks adorned with moss, possess an unparalleled atmosphere and charisma. They hold spiritual connections, particularly in Wales, where Celtic mythology intertwines with these ancient woodlands. The National Trust serves as the largest custodian of existing rainforests in Britain, managing a quarter of English and three percent of Welsh rainforest examples. Leveraging this ownership, the Trust aims to develop these core areas and establish nature corridors that connect and expand the rainforest network.
To support their ambitions, the National Trust has established a plant nursery in Eryri (Snowdonia), where they will cultivate 30,000 trees annually. These trees will be used to rejuvenate existing woodlands and ensure their resilience for future generations. This nursery is the first of three planned sites, with others to be located in the southwest of England and Northern Ireland. By planting the right trees in the right locations, the Trust seeks to create a lasting impact on the woodlands and foster diverse habitats for various wildlife species, such as warblers, moths, bats, and otters.
While rainforests are commonly associated with tropical regions, their temperate counterparts in the UK exhibit similar features and extraordinary biodiversity. These forests experience high levels of rainfall, humidity, dense canopies, and abundant growth of epiphytes, including lichens, mosses, and orchids. Wistman's Wood in Dartmoor exemplifies the beauty and uniqueness of these rainforests. Although rainforests in the UK were once as extensive as those in Alaska and British Columbia, centuries of deforestation have reduced them to fragmented areas along the western seaboard of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Cornwall.
The preservation and expansion of the Celtic rainforest align with the vision of the global society, which strives for the sustainable management and protection of terrestrial ecosystems. The National Trust's commitment to conserving rainforests contributes to the achievement of SDG 15: Life on Land. This goal emphasizes the need to protect, restore, and sustainably manage terrestrial ecosystems, promoting biodiversity conservation and combating deforestation. By planting locally collected seeds, preserving genetic diversity, and promoting species resilience, the Trust supports the goal's objectives.
Additionally, the National Trust's efforts resonate with the vision of a society that recognizes the value of natural ecosystems, acknowledges their cultural and spiritual significance, and fosters harmonious coexistence with nature. The rainforests' captivating ambiance and the associated Celtic mythology exemplify the cultural importance of these woodlands. The Trust's initiatives ensure that future generations can continue to benefit from the spiritual and ecological value of the Celtic rainforest, creating a more sustainable and interconnected world.
The National Trust's commitment to preserving and expanding the Celtic rainforest demonstrates their dedication to the conservation of vital ecosystems. By planting trees, nurturing genetic diversity, and creating nature corridors, the Trust's efforts align with the global society's vision for sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems. Furthermore, their initiatives directly contribute to SDG 15: Life on Land by safeguarding biodiversity, combating deforestation, and promoting sustainable land use. As the Trust works towards expanding rainforest areas and planting millions of trees by 2030, they inspire others to join in the mission of protecting and restoring the invaluable natural heritage of the UK.