OXFORD Friends of the Earth (OXFoE) are calling for a massive increase in tree planting around Oxfordshire.

The idea follows new scientific research released last week suggesting that a mass global tree planting initiative would be the cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis.

Friends of the Earth has launched a national campaign to double tree cover in the UK by 2045, which its Oxford branch is backing locally.

The new study, published in the journal science, argues that more than a trillion trees could be planted worldwide to combat rising emissions - without impact urban or farming areas.

Trees take carbon dioxide – one of the major causes of global warming – out of the atmosphere.

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Ahead of a discussion about the idea, OXFoE told members in an email: "To double tree cover we need local councils, landowners and farmers all committed to working on large programmes.

"We should also look locally – creating and expanding community woodlands, planting around school and college grounds, more trees in parks and ‘greening the green belt’ to create better spaces for nature and people."

But Jenny Henman, the founder of Oxfordshire environmental charity Plant Your Future, cautioned that tree planting efforts should focus on the world's rainforest regions to be most effective.

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She said: "I’m so glad that tree planting is finally getting more recognition in the news as the most effective way to tackle climate change. However, if we’re serious about this having any meaningful impact on the climate, we need to start having a more realistic discussion on the best use of resources and where tree-planting should be targeted.

"If the primary interest of the people of Oxfordshire is to avert catastrophic climate change occurring then the most effective use of resources is to support good tree planting schemes in the rainforest region.

She continued: "While there are possibilities here in Oxfordshire and the UK they are limited in their scale because of land prices and their impact on the climate - trees grow slowly here compared to in the warmer-climes of the tropics.

"The big opportunity to stay within 1.5 degrees threshold is to give positive incentives to scale-up tree planting in the tropics where trees can suck more CO2 of the atmosphere faster."

OXFoE will discuss the topic at a meeting on Wednesday, from 7.30pm to 9pm, at Quaker Meeting House, St Giles.