Its aim is to plant ten trees for every man, woman and child in Greater Glasgow as part of a new urban forest to tackle climate change.

The ambitious planting pledge is the heart of the new Clyde Climate Forest, which is part of the Glasgow & Clyde Valley Green Network, to breathe new life across the eight local authorities in the region.

Around 18 million trees will be planted over the next decade, increasing woodland cover in the Glasgow City Region from 17% to 20% and is a way of demonstrating the commitment to reaching Net Zero ahead of COP26 in November.

Read more: Covid Scotland: Glasgow installs new seating and decking to help boost spaces for people

The initiative, officially launched today, believes in the principle of ‘the right tree in the right place’, and the project team aims to plant trees in areas of deprivation, former coalmining sites, vacant and derelict land, urban streets and other civic places.

And now you can get involved as the project team at Clyde Climate Forest is calling on community groups and land managers to help them identify places to plant new trees, or replace ones that have been lost in the past.

Planting project is underway near Crowwood Golf Course, Lanarkshire

Councillor Andrew Polson, Joint Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council and Chair of the Land Use and Sustainability Portfolio for Glasgow City Region, said: “Trees are nature’s own green lungs, improving the air that we breathe and soaking up harmful CO2 emissions from our environment. Expanding Glasgow City Region’s woodlands to create a new inter-connected forest will provide many lasting benefits. There are opportunities for communities, schools, businesses and landowners to get involved in our planting mission. We all have a fantastic opportunity to work collectively to improve our living environment whilst tackling climate change at the same time.”

There are around 29,000 hectares of broadleaved woodland in the region, but they are fragmented due to urban development. The new planting aims to connect these woodlands and help restore nature and boost biodiversity.

Mairi McAllan, Scottish Government Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform said: “This is a significant and well timed initiative showcasing all that is good in tree planting as we approach COP26. It is also a first for Scotland, with eight local authorities working together with government and other partners on a major woodland creation initiative. Tree planting is key to tackling the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss and there is tremendous support for it across Scotland. The Clyde Climate Forest taps into this and the benefits will last for generations.”

Read more: Covid Scotland: 'I'm lucky to be here' says publican hit by virus and hospitality shutdown

In Glasgow the city council and the Green Action Trust are creating new woodland at Cart and Kittoch in response to both the climate and biodiversity emergencies, which will result in a total of 40,000 trees being planted linking Coulter’s Wood, Cathkin Braes and Cart and Kittoch woodland, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Chair of Glasgow City Region Cabinet and Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This year we have an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Glasgow City Region and showcase how we are planning to adapt to and mitigate climate change while allowing nature to thrive and grow. New community woodlands, trees and forests will bring multiple benefits to our local communities as well as wildlife. The pandemic has brought into focus like never before the value of local spaces as places to exercise, de-stress and engage with nature and this project can help to deliver the Green Recovery. The economic, ecological and social benefits will be extensive.”

Coves Nature Reserve in Gourock where 600 trees will be planted

Coves Nature Reserve in Gourock where 600 trees will be planted

Other projects already under way include native woodland planting in a field adjacent to Crowwood Golf Course, Chryston. The North Corridor Community Volunteers are involved in a range of conservation and volunteering projects. The planting is part of a plan to create a mixed native woodland, not only by planting trees but also by creating other aspects of a healthy woodland such as ground flora.

And at wildlife haven Coves Nature Reserve in Gourock, Inverclyde, 600 trees are being planted by community volunteers who undertake conservation work.

It is hoped businesses within Glasgow City Region will encourage their staff involved with community tree planting projects. There is a chance to invest in the Clyde Climate Forest and organisations can sign up to a new charter which shows their commitment to reducing emissions across their business supporting the fight against climate change.

The project will be funded through Scottish Forestry’s various grant schemes, but community groups and individuals can also donate.

Dave Signorini, Chief Executive of Scottish Forestry said: “The Clyde Climate Forest will deliver social and economic benefit to the population of the City Region. It will also provide a place for nature to connect, recover and thrive.

“Planting trees can help us reduce our carbon footprint and strengthen communities. Scottish Forestry is always ready to advise on the range of forestry grants that are on offer so that we can collectively get more trees in the ground.”

The project secured a £400,000 grant from the Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund as well as £150,000 from Scottish Forestry over the next two years to recruit a project team.