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Midland Reafforesting Association




The Midland Reafforesting Association was created in 1903 with the intention of undertaking afforestation projects (amounting to 14,000 acres) across the Black Country, England. Whilst in principle such projects were met with support by the government and other organisations, less than 1% of the target was planted so by 1925 the project was terminated and the Midland Reafforesting Association dissolved.


Predominant drivers behind the failure of the project included the residents' acceptance of the industrialised and bleak landscapes as if they were the norm and status quo, the lack of necessary funding from bodies that verbally supported the efforts of the Midland Reafforesting Association (particularly as the subsoiling / ripping of poorer-quality sites being very expensive), 'technical difficulties' (species selection, poor site quality, etc), and the fact that one of the core motives for the afforestation project, that of such forest creation improving land value, was at the time not supported by crucial evidence in favour of such a claim.


Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, only one-sixth of the derelict 14,000 acres remained by 1953. Most had been built on due to demand for infrastructural services and homes for the rising population of the UK. The remaining derelict land, which would amount to around 2,400 acres, did funnily enough regenerate naturally, gradually 'greening' the residual areas left behind after continued construction.


To top the whole thing off, The Black Country Urban Forestry Unit (BCUFU) that was formed in 1985 to continue the efforts of the project from 1903, which evolved into the National Urban Forestry Unit (NUFU) in 1995, also disbanded (prematurely) due to a lack of funding from central government. The project managed to plant 837 acres of woodland over six years with a £8.5m budget, before calling it a day.


Not all is lost in failure however, as the lessons drawn from the demise of such an ambitious project paved the way for research into species selection for plantations, management of plantations, and planting techniques.


Source: Webber, J. (2008) Greening the Black Country: The Work of the Midland Reafforesting Association in the Early Twentieth Century. Arboricultural Journal. 31 (1). p45-62.



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How many acres did that single bloke in France reafforest with Oaks, all on his jack tod, with zero funding?

After the 1st war I imagine.

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It mentions somewhere near the bottom that there was widespread belief that this was a true story, but this was not the case, written to promote and encourage people to plant trees.

My bad.

however the search "the man who planted a forest" also brought up the Indian man who planted a significent acreage of forest on a sandbar.

Edited by difflock
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