Woodland cover over the Somerset Levels and Catchment is low and many of the smaller woodlands are under-managed which can lead to biodiversity loss. Yet there is strong evidence that planting woodlands in the upper and middle catchments ameliorates downstream flooding To this end, Reimagining the Levels members plan to replace many of the trees lost to past river engineering and land reclamation and will be looking for volunteers to help with this.
The use of floodplain woodland as a ‘soft-engineered’ aid to flood control has been the subject of several studies (Environment Agency and Forestry Commission). In addition to the advantages of flood control and water storage, it offers improvements to water quality, nature conservation and improved landscape with potential for a recreational amenity. Bringing unmanaged woodland back into the economy and planting new woodland and trees where they will do most good, will also help build jobs and build value around woodland products and uses.