The Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest will be the first newly created Community Forest supported by DEFRA’s Nature for Climate Fund. The scheme will receive funding for 500 hectares of trees to be planted by 2025. It’s expected that the forest will expand up to three times this size by 2034! This project is the first of at least three new Community Forests to be created in areas most at need and its creation aligns with the national ambition to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050. 

Stretching from the centre of Plymouth to the edge of Dartmoor, the forest will encompass a variety of different forest habitats from urban woodland, streets and hedgerows to wooded corridors, bringing trees and people together. It is this mosaic of different forest habitats that is so valuable for wildlife and biodiversity. But the forest won’t just benefit Plymouth’s biodiversity and wildlife – it will provide opportunities for young people who are to be invited to lead on several aspects including naming the forest, developing its design and how it will be managed. This is a great opportunity to for young people to develop new skills and will stimulate a growth in green jobs in the area. 

Furthermore, the community forest fulfils an action in Plymouth City Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, allowing the council to work with partners and the local community across the city to raise awareness, understanding and action on climate change.

How is this helping Devon reach net-zero?

Goal 11.5: Restore and enhance habitats and soils so that they fulfil their natural potential for carbon sequestration and storage.

Action R29: Develop training and reskilling opportunities with higher education providers and the Local Enterprise Partnership to enable workers in carbon-intensive sectors to redeploy into emerging sectors to ensure the low carbon skills base is available.

The creation of a community forest is another project moving us one step closer to a net-zero Devon by absorbing and storing carbon, increasing biodiversity, upskilling young people and creating new green jobs.