Oct 01 2019

Woodland Trust appoints new CEO



I am delighted to announce that, following a rigorous, externally-competitive selection process, the Board has appointed Darren Moorcroft,  currently Director of Estate and Woodland Outreach, as our new CEO.   He will take up the role on 1st October 2019.


Darren has shown passion, energy and focus since he joined us two years ago. The Board is confident he will  make an effective leader and take the Woodland Trust strategy forward at this time of great challenge and opportunity for trees and woodland.   We also want to thank Norman Starks, the Interim CEO, and the Executive Team who have worked so well together to continue our momentum since Beccy left.


Darren said  “It is a privilege to be asked to lead the Woodland Trust at a time when the need for native woods and trees couldn’t be higher.  As a charity fighting back against climate change and the loss of nature, we have created thousands of new woodlands across the UK, sequestering carbon and providing homes for wildlife.   The environmental challenges we all face means everyone needs to play their part, whether as an individual, a community, a business leader, landowner or politician.   The Trust will continue  with its vision and work to provide large-scale solutions, ensuring people and nature benefit from a future that is rich in native woods and trees.”


Best wishes



Chairman, the Woodland Trust

  • AlanRoss

    The Woodland Trust cannot carry on with business as usual in a climate emergency

    The Woodland trust is becoming a leader in woodland protection and creation, yet it still has not made any effort to address the climate emergency with its destructive practices.
    Glyphosate should be banned. It’s the most toxic chemical on earth and needs banned by the WT. There is no excuse now for using it. Even the manufacturers have 15,000 legal claims against them and are already out > 300 million in fines.

    Stop using petrol driven devices : a strimmer, petrol mower gives off the same levels of pollution as up to 40 cars. Leaf blower = up to 300 4x4s

    Stop ground disturbance when planting trees and inoculate all seedlings with fungi. Rationale as follows :

    Example of modern forestry practices fuelling climate breakdown : Under the present system of tree planting, a mounder covers the ground creating mounds of earth or scarifying the landscape where trees are to be planted. This has several serious environmental impacts. If we are planting 10,000 ha / yr, this equates to between 3- 5,000Ha of exposed soils with the following impacts :
    • immediate and long term carbon loss.
    • Heat re-radiation of bare soils ( 90% cause of global warming )
    • Destruction of fungal networks and soil organisms essential for carbon sequestration, tree health and water retention. Basically – it turns living productive soils into lifeless dirt, simply to give tree roots easier, early growth.
    • Heavy machinery used for mounding is a significant carbon polluter and compacts the ground at depth, with subsequent tree rooting limitations.
    • The deep pits created from mounding or plough lines adjacent to the mounds severely limit the potential for mycorrhizal fungal networks.
    • Soil loss from rain into drains then into watercourses and crucially – as dust into the atmosphere, which combines at global level to form heat hazes which prevent atmospheric moisture from forming rain clouds, resulting in significant global warming. This excess water vapour contributes around 100x more to global warming than Co2 !
    • Trees are not inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi prior to being planted out on new sites. This is a serious oversight of management by the SC Gov and FCS in the context of a climate emergency.

    Actions :
    1 ) Compulsory inoculation of tree roots and/or soils with mycorrhizal fungi under the WGS and other agri schemes, especially for new plantings on upland sites where nutrients are almost non existent. This will maximise long term carbon sequestration potential, building a healthy soil carbon sponge – greatly increasing the rates of transpiration which we need to cool the planet, as well as building natural resilience into our forests to survive climate breakdown.
    Methods include dipping roots in water solution, or into gel solution. Only a small percentage of trees is required.
    2) Promote industry wide uptake with Gov grants for fungi farms / growers / collectors. Native species must be used, with a minimum of 30-50 fungi species per site.
    3) Set up an inventory of where the most endangered fungi reservoirs are for future protection and harnessing. EG : ancient forest refugia, mature woodlands etc. In some cases, these fungi may only be limited to a few select old tree specimens, such is our loss of biodiversity in Scotland. Work with international efforts to restore fungi species now locally extinct or rare.
    4) Keep the soil covered We cannot carry on with these destructive activities when our life support systems are in meltdown.
    5) Increase diversity of native species in our forests at very opportunity, so that fungi can once again be the driving force of biodiversity, forest resilience and carbon transfer and storage.
    Why carbon sequestration via fungi is essential to help cool the planet
    Put simply – we cannot cool the planet without water. Water can only come from healthy soils. Reductions in Co2 emissions is critical, but probably won’t cool the planet for centuries and we are already seeing glaciers, permafrost and ice sheets melting 60 years ahead of predictions.
    Mycorrhizal fungi in forests and farmlands = increase biological activity = increased Carbon in soils which greatly increases water absorption & storage = transpiration by plants = reduces global warming by
    • during the transpiration process,
    • as the vapour forms high albido clouds reflecting the solar radiation,
    • mitigates methane in atmosphere via photo oxidation,
    • form clouds for rainfall – thus driving the hydrological system which is responsible for 95% of the heat dynamics of the planet

    October 14, 2019 at 5:29 pm
  • ChrisStephens

    Thought provoking and like Sarah i would like to see the evidence for what appear to be a number of hypotheses. Surely this is the wrong place to put such a response Alan? There will be few volunteers who see four plea or who are in a position to do anything about it . Is what you have written an abstract from a a referred paper in a high impact factor journal?

    December 7, 2019 at 7:57 am

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