It might surprise you to learn that Britain even has temperate rainforests, but fragments of these habitats remain along the Atlantic coast - and a new project has been launched to expand them.
The Wildlife Trusts, a conservation charity, embarked on a 100-year initiative to protect and enlarge Britain’s temperate rainforests, thanks to a £38m ($46m) donation from the insurance firm Aviva.
Rainforests grew all along the Atlantic coast of Britain hundreds of years ago, but now cover less than 1 percent of the island, in areas such as western Scotland, the Lake District and western Wales. As with rainforests all around the world, they are vital carbon sinks, bastions of biodiversity and inspire awe. With the climate and nature crises intensifying, restoring them is an obvious solution.
The rainforests of the British Isles are temperate rainforests, which means they grow in areas that have high rainfall and humidity, and a low annual variation in temperature. They are also known as Atlantic woodland or Celtic rainforest.
“These woods are magical and much loved by those who visit and live near them,” said Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts. “We’re looking forward to working with communities to bring back rainforests along the Atlantic coast.”
“The fact that Britain’s native rainforests will take carbon out of the Earth’s atmosphere is reason enough to restore them. But on top of that, they’re incredibly rare and beautiful. This vital work we are undertaking with The Wildlife Trusts will mean people can experience this rich natural habitat. Communities being able to access these sites will improve wellbeing and show how biodiversity fights and reduces the impacts of climate change," says Amanda Blanc, Aviva CEO.