COP26: ‘Wee Forests’ to be created around Glasgow city centre
Glasgow is set to become host to a network of Wee Forests in and around the city centre, as part of the COP26 legacy.
What are the Wee Forests?
A Wee Forest (also known as a Tiny Forest) is made up of 600 densely packed native trees in a space the size of a tennis court, and is capable of attracting over 500 animal and plant species within the first three years. It also provides rich opportunities for engaging young and old alike with the environment and sustainability.
Led by Earthwatch Europe and NatureScot, the project will create pockets of nature-rich green space across the city as a living legacy and celebration of COP26.
Together Glasgow City Council, Earthwatch Europe, NatureScot, Glasgow Science Centre, Green Action Trust and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) Scotland are planting eight Wee Forests across the city.
The forests have been supported by BlackRock, Bloomberg LP, OVO Foundation (charity arm of OVO Energy), Scottish Government, the Seven Lochs Project, Vaillant Group and Whyte & Mackay.
Where are the forests going to be?
The city, which is hosting COP26 between October 31 – November 12, will see eight new Wee Forests planted on land donated by Glasgow City Council.
Locations include Glasgow Green, Govan Road, Orkney Street, Maxwell Park, Castlebay Drive, Crookston Castle, Oakgrove Primary School and Rossendale Road.
Scotland’s first Wee Forest was planted in Easterhouse as part of the Seven Lochs Project in February 2021.
What is the Scottish Government saying?
Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said: “For many of us, the Covid pandemic has changed how we view and value nature, and we know people want to spend more time outdoors for the benefits it brings to their mental and physical health. We need to improve access to our green spaces and provide equal opportunities for everyone to connect to nature. Wee Forests are an ideal way of achieving this, whether as a place for children to play or a quiet spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
“Our Wee Forests enable people to be directly involved in tackling the nature and climate crises by planting, looking after and charting the development of a forest and the wildlife it attracts in their own neighbourhood.
“This new network of Wee Forests is a great example of partnership working between the public and private sector, attracting additional investment to help enhance our natural environment. With the spotlight on Glasgow as we approach COP26, innovative projects like this will showcase to the rest of the world how Scotland is leading the way in our action to tackle the twin crises of climate change and nature loss.”
What will happen to the forests after COP26?
Following COP26, Earthwatch will collect scientific data with the help of young people from local schools and the wider community to assess the forest’s environmental benefits such as carbon absorption and biodiversity, as well as assessing the social and wellbeing benefits of having this new green space in an urban area.