Why planting trees could be key to flood prevention

Severe flooding is becoming more common in towns, cities and rural areas across the UK. These floods can do a lot of damage both to the environment and to homes and businesses while communities can take a long time to recover from their impact. Two of the main factors that cause flooding are climate change and poor land management. 

Changing weather patterns make flooding more likely while large farms, desertification, and building on flood plains put homes at risk every time there’s a deluge. 

One way in which we can help to prevent future flooding is to plant more trees. Having more trees in the landscape is key to creating a flood-resistant environment. 

In fact, many experts believe planting more trees could be the flood prevention solution we’re looking for. 

Canopy cover 

Trees help to prevent flooding in a number of ways. One is by slowing the rate at which water hits the ground during a rainstorm. Leaves and branches in a tree’s canopy help to slow water down as it hurtles towards the ground. When water falls more gently, it’s easier for the ground to absorb it. This can help to prevent run-off and flash flooding. 

The more trees there are in an urban or rural setting, the more diffuse the rain will be when it hits the ground and the easier it will be for the surrounding landscape to cope with the downpour. 

Root growth

Root systems are key to flood prevention. As @WoodlandTrust explains, “Root systems help water penetrate deeper into the soil at a faster rate under and around trees. This means less surface run-off and more water storage in the soil.” 

Root systems are very good at helping to prevent floods in both rural and urban settings. Having more trees in towns and cities gives rainwater more and deeper places to go, thus helping to stop it running off of roads and pavements and overwhelming drainage systems. According to some studies, natural flood defences – like trees, could reduce flood height in towns and cities by up to 20%.

Planting more trees 

Not only are trees a fantastic natural resource in the fight against flooding, but they also help to lock carbon, purify the air we breathe and create habitats for insects, birds, and animals that live nearby. 

Planting a variety of native trees can, therefore, help to boost the biodiversity of an area and improve the quality of life for people living locally. In towns and cities, where biodiversity is likely to be poor and air pollution high, planting trees is even more important. 

If you’d like to find out more about the important part sustainable timber plays in the environment, or learn about the products and services we offer, explore our site or get in touch with us today. 

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