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EditorialsUp Front 09/14

Up Front 09/14

Throughout the last year of his life I spent time with a man who had decided to leave his money to a charity he had set up to plant British broadleaf trees. His goal, having already planted over a million trees whilst alive, was to grow a forest in the heart of England that would not only be home to millions of majestic trees and wildlife, but would also be a habitat for thousands of species and therefore help to nurture biodiversity. He also saw the potential benefit of reducing atmospheric pollution and locking up CO2 from the atmosphere to help lessen the impact of climate change. A successful businessman by anyone’s standards, he had decided that his wealth could be better used not only for such benefits as these, but also by creating a place that would include woodland pasture, glades, ponds, wetlands and winding footpaths—a place, in essence, that people could come to enjoy tranquil natural beauty. Living in a world fast becoming dominated by a more virtual reality, this is a valuable concept that is worth supporting wherever trees are threatened. Reporting in the journal Science, a team of international scientists have calculated that it would cost $198 million per year to pay private owners to set aside land for reforestation of the Atlantic forest in Brazil. It is one of the most important and threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world, containing the only living examples of nearly 10,000 species of plant and more bird species than all of Europe. $198M may seem like a lot of money, but when you consider that last week an Argentinian footballer was transferred from Real Madrid to Manchester United for a fee of £59.7M, it seems small change for something that could save one of the most important forests in the world. For the cost of a couple of Argentinian wingers you could throw in material for free goalposts for life.    FB

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