Halterburnhead is the fruit of Forest Carbon's partnership with the Tweed Forum - responsible for 8 new woodlands between 2012 to 2018, covering 137 ha and totalling 220,000 trees, all aimed at natural flood management.
The projects are carefully situated in the Bowmont Valley, South of Kelso and two Tweed tributaries near Eddleston. In addition to carbon capture the woodlands will deliver the benefits outlined below.
In September 2008 and July 2009 prolonged and intense rainfall caused major flooding in the north-east Cheviots, on the Scottish/English border, with significant damage to infrastructure, agriculture, woodland and communities as far south as Morpeth. A review was commissioned by the Tweed Forum – a charitable body, backed by a broad public and private membership, with a brief to co-ordinate actions that lead to the sustainable management of the river and its catchment – into how best to prevent and ameliorate the recurrence of such events. The River Till and its tributaries, all in turn flowing into the Tweed, were the worst affected by the floods and the planting to be carried out in the winter of 2012/13 is part of the solution identified for those tributaries. There is a considerable body of practical knowledge and research evidence pointing to riparian woodlands as an effective means of flood management, through the following means:
- By reducing peak flood flows through woodland soil’s ‘sponge’ effect;
- By reducing run-off through evaporation of water intercepted by the woodland canopy, or through transpiration by tree roots;
- By slowing run-off through damming caused by Woodland debris;
- By reducing the amount of silt that reaches rivers, thus enhancing their capacity, and by stabilising river banks
By reducing the amount of water reaching the watercourses, and then lengthening the period over which the surge of water is delivered to a watercourse, flooding is either prevented altogether or reduced. Upstream flood management is also very cost-effective – removing the need for difficult to implement flood protection, or the expensive consequences of flooding, in urban areas.
- Base flows of rivers are maintained – important for fish survival in the summer;
- Dappled shading of streams – keeps summer water temperatures low;
- Pollutants are filtered from entering watercourses by trees;
- Woodlands provide habitat and habitat connectivity.