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Hawthorn on a Scottish beach named tree of the year 2021 | Trees and forests

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A solitary, weathered hawthorn, which has stood for at least half a century on Scotland’s rugged coastline, has been named Tree of the Year for 2021.

Angling above the hull hull beach at Kippford, with a tangle of broken and crooked branches, the thorny tree has beaten hundreds of nominations to become the UK’s favorite in the Woodland contest Trust.

Named by an arborist who remembers climbing it during a family vacation to Dalbeattie, Dumfries and Galloway, the Hawthorn won 38% of the vote and will now represent the UK in the European Tree of Life competition. year 2022.

It ended above a Monterey cypress planted on a beach in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales, which was saved from logging this year after a public campaign and a beech umbrella in the Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland – a rare specimen with knotted branches growing haphazardly towards the ground.

Drew Patterson, who nominated the winning hawthorn, was delighted to see such a “beautiful specimen” win the award, although he said his photo, taken with a cell phone, did not do the tree justice.

“Never in a million years did I think they would choose my tree,” he said.

“She’s a superb hawthorn and it’s amazing she survived this well after being climbed, blown by winds and even hit by cars on the bends.

“It’s in a wild place and got knocked down at an angle, but it’s still standing and proud by the beach.”

Patterson, whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all from Dalbeattie, added, “It’s been around as long as I can remember and I have so many fond memories that stretch back through the generations. . I have pictures of my grandfather and my mother in front of the tree.

“It’s been at least 60 years [old] and could be up to 100. Seeing the tree win this award is special.

Now in its seventh year, the Woodland Trust Tree of the Year competition highlights the UK’s favorite trees to help show their value and need for protection.


Why are trees good for the environment?

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There are approximately 3 tons of trees on the planet and they play an important role in producing the oxygen we all breathe. But there were twice as many before the start of human civilization.

Today, 10 billion more trees are felled than planted each year. This destruction is a major contributor to the carbon dioxide emissions that are at the root of the climate crisis. Trees scavenge carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, and tree planting will need to play an important role in ending the climate emergency.

Forests are also a vital and rich habitat for wildlife. Earth is at the start of a sixth species mass extinction event, and the leveling of forests and other ecosystems is the biggest contributor to the losses. Tropical rainforests are particularly important, home to 50% of known terrestrial species on only 6% of the world’s land. Trees also play an important role in controlling regional rainfall, as they evaporate water from their leaves.

In urban areas, tree shade has been shown to both cool city streets and reduce air pollution levels. They can also improve the well-being of people in the setting of green spaces, with research showing that a “dose” of nature of two hours per week significantly improves health.

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Adam Cormack, campaign manager for the Woodland Trust, said the tree, also known as the Kippford Leaning Tree, was a worthy winner.

He said: “We have had winners of all shapes and sizes in previous years and it is a tree that stands out for different reasons, not least because of its striking presence in an unusual setting.”

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