We are living in a climate emergency and 2019 will perhaps be seen as a critical year in terms of general public awareness of the importance of environment issues to the future health of the planet. At OPEN, we have been aware of the influence that we can make to address the climate crisis as landscape architects both directly through our projects and indirectly through advocacy and education. New research in summer 2019 highlighted one particular aspect of direct relevance to OPEN’s practice – the mass planting of trees. Research by Prof Tom Crowther and his team at the Swiss university ETH Zürich showed that

"Planting billions of trees across the world is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis."

The study tested the potential for land around the world to support mass tree planting without encroaching on crop land or urban areas. The findings were quite unexpected and showed that “a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions from human activities that remain in the atmosphere”, immediately propelling such an initiative into the top position of climate change solutions.

At OPEN, we are proud to play our part in that tree-planting movement, promoting and supporting the introduction of new trees to our designs wherever appropriate and effective to overall project principles. These range in scale from carefully selected urban trees within public realm proposals to new woodland planting using young bare-root stock to create new habitats for our planned settlements and developments. As part of an end-of-year review and looking forward to proposals in 2020, we recently made a tally of the number of trees which have been planted across OPEN’s projects in 2019 and have shared below some of the more significant numbers:

Kingsgrove, Wantage
As part of our ongoing work at Crab Hill for St.Modwen, 41,000 trees were planted as the first stage of advance woodland planting along the northern boundary of the new residential neighbourhood. This covers around a third of the eventual extent of new woodland which is proposed and which will be planted over the next planting seasons.

Shawfair, Midlothian
Construction of the new settlement at Shawfair has been progressing in a number of locations and this has included the planting of an extensive area of new woodland along the northern ridge. Over 15,000 trees were planted in 2019 along with associated shrubs and hedgerows.

Already planned for 2020
In additional to a further 15,000 trees to be planted in early 2020 at Kingsgrove, OPEN's design for a new country park at Winchburgh will be realised, including the planting of 31,000 trees.