Planting trees is important – but done the right way!


McConks stakes its reputation on being sustainable and ethical – you’re probably sick of hearing us talking about it in fact. McConks owners, Andy and Jen, are qualified environmental scientists so have first hand insight into things like deforestation. On top of this, at a simplified level, we just care.

Myths surrounding tree planting for carbo offsetting and carbon capture are abundant. As are scams. Paying a company 10p for every sale of ‘goods’ (in our case stand up paddle boards) to plant a tree may make companies and customers feel good, but may actually cause more harm than good. You’ve probably heard us say this before, and it’s why McConks sponsor a charity to rewild swathes of the Scottish Highlands –, rather than simply plant trees.

Trees For Life, proudly supported by McConks.

It was therefore with interest we spotted the following BBC article focusing on rewilding myths. It makes for a compelling read…

The following quotes are especially key:

‘Planting the right trees in the right place must be a top priority for all nations as we face a crucial decade for ensuring the future of our planet,’ said Dr Paul Smith, a researcher on the study and secretary general of conservation charity Botanic Gardens International in Kew.

‘If you plant the wrong trees in the wrong place you could be doing more harm than good,’ said lead researcher Dr Kate Hardwick of RBG Kew.

Signing off the article lists 10 golden rules for rewilding, as follows –

  • Protect existing forests first

Keeping forests in their original state is always preferable; undamaged old forests soak up carbon better and are more resilient to fire, storm and droughts. “Whenever there’s a choice, we stress that halting deforestation and protecting remaining forests must be a priority,” said Prof Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at RGB Kew.

  • Put local people at the heart of tree-planting projects

Studies show that getting local communities on board is key to the success of tree-planting projects. It is often local people who have most to gain from looking after the forest in the future.

  • Maximise biodiversity recovery to meet multiple goals

Reforestation should be about several goals, including guarding against climate change, improving conservation and providing economic and cultural benefits.

  • Select the right area for reforestation

Plant trees in areas that were historically forested but have become degraded, rather than using other natural habitats such as grasslands or wetlands.

  • Use natural forest regrowth wherever possible

Letting trees grow back naturally can be cheaper and more efficient than planting trees.

  • Select the right tree species that can maximise biodiversity

Where tree planting is needed, picking the right trees is crucial. Scientists advise a mixture of tree species naturally found in the local area, including some rare species and trees of economic importance, but avoiding trees that might become invasive.

  • Make sure the trees are resilient to adapt to a changing climate

Use tree seeds that are suitable for the local climate and how that might change in the future.

  • Plan ahead

Plan how to source seeds or trees, working with local people.

  • Learn by doing

Combine scientific knowledge with local knowledge. Ideally, small-scale trials should take place before planting large numbers of trees.

  • Make it pay

The sustainability of tree re-planting rests on a source of income for all stakeholders, including the poorest.

Here at McConks we understand all of the above. if you’re aiming to make ethical and sustainable purchases (not just stand up paddle boards) then it’s worth checking out exactly how the company you’re buying from goes about their rewilding efforts. After all, being informed is only a good thing.

If you want to check out any other McConks articles then see below –

Are you a coach or guide wanting the best gear?

drop us a line and keep in touch