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Loss of trees in storms 'could have been worse'

The storms that hit the UK this winter caused the greatest loss of trees since 1987 but the damage could have been worse, the National Trust said.

A fallen tree after the storms that battered Britain. Credit: Sophie Duval/EMPICS Entertainment

Over 50 National Trust sites have been surveyed with, with many gardeners, rangers and foresters saying that the losses have been the greatest in two decades although other sites had little damage.

Extreme weather is likely to become more frequent as the climate changes and there is a need to plan what trees to grow and where to make woodlands more resilient to the changes, National Trust nature and wildlife specialist Matthew Oates said.

The trust said nowhere had been as devastated as it was in 1987 or 1990 but some sites had lost hundreds of trees including valued ancient specimens.

Many trees were uprooted and blown over rather than snapped off, due to the saturated ground conditions.

More: UK faces 'highest exposure' to extra-tropical cyclones

Storm damage 'worst since Great Storm of 1987'

Emmetts House and Garden, Ide Hill in Kent shortly after the hurricane on October 16, 1987. Credit: Mike Howarth/PA Archive

The storms that the UK endured this winter caused the greatest loss of trees since the "Great Storm" of 1987, the National Trust has said.

Old oak, ash and beech trees have been lost in woods, while specimen trees in parks and gardens have also been damaged as at least a dozen storms swept through the UK from December to February.

Given the extent of the wild weather, which hit the western half of England, Wales and Northern Ireland particularly badly, losses could have been worse, National Trust nature and wildlife specialist Matthew Oates said.

More: UK faces 'highest exposure' to extra-tropical cyclones

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