Here in the West Midlands more and more people are seeing just how much trees really do matter. For our towns and major conurbations, they bring much needed green landscape – green infrastructure – into the hard edged urban scene. For our superb rural areas trees define the landscape and provide a vital economic resource. Climate change and wood energy alternatives are climbing higher up the West Midlands agenda as are healthier lifestyles, better community involvement and more opportunities for leisure and recreation. Well managed trees and woodland can make an important contribution in all these areas.
The Government's commitment to managing and expanding sustainably England’s Trees Woods and Forests points the way and much has been done to increase the contributions that trees, woodland and forestry make to our lives. The West Midlands Forestry Framework which was launched in 2004 and refreshed in 2010 gives us the opportunity to work together to drive the agenda forward enhancing the uniquely multi-functional resource that can, for example, simultaneously provide a leisure facility, a habitat, a workplace, and an educational resource, while helping to clean the air, reduce flood risk and screen noise whilst concurrently producing environmentally friendly building materials, improving the landscape and sequestering atmospheric carbon.