Once upon a time, about five thousand years ago, Britain, apart from the North of Scotland, was covered in Trees. Oaks, Elms, Ash, Willow and Evergreen’s like Pine made the island a forest from Lands End to Inverness. Mesolithic Britons had a ready source of material for fuel and for buildings. They began one of the largest deforestation programs the world has ever seen. As Southampton Timber Merchants Timbco will tell you, we are still feeling the effects of this. Only twelve percent of Britain is now wooded compared to Finland which has seventy two percent.
We have been able to recover some of it since the end of the Second World War. A replanting programme set up to replace this loss has been going on since the 1950’s. The chosen tree for this was the Spanish Plane, mainly because it does well in urban areas. Tree preservation orders were introduced to stop the felling of rare and special trees and the Dutch Elm Disease situation did nothing to help.
Modern reasons for tree loss can be attributed to the Napoleonic Wars where Oak was required for ships, in fact many new Forests were created as the authorities worried about a shortfall in wood for the navy. The First and Second World war saw a huge depletion as well.