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How Trees Can Help Flood Defence

Trees in the midst of a flood

As the worst of nature battles our coastal towns and villages for another year, many commentators are asking why we have not been spending more on flood and coastal defences. There is normally some rehearsed line saying how sad they are about people suffering, quickly followed by carefully scripted phrases about balance of risk and value for money.
Protecting our homes and landscape against the ravages of nature can be expensive, but we are missing a trick by focussing on single-function solutions such as flood barriers. But what if we could help protect our coastlines, reduce excessive water flow, sequester carbon, provide habitats for animals including song birds, create spaces for outdoor recreation, conserve soil structure and enhance our landscape all with the same solution?

Yes, planting trees can do all of this! Humans are clever, but we're not nearly as clever as mother nature and trees are one of her best inventions:


  • Trees protect coastlines by binding sandy soils together. Browse our trees and shrubs which are resistant to salt spray on our tree finder.
  • Trees reduce excessive water flow by taking up ground water before it gets to rivers. They help smooth out the peaks and troughs of water flow before they reach the rivers so they are less likely to burst their banks.
  • Trees sequester carbon as we all know. The best thing you can do for the environment today is plant a tree!
  • Trees and woodlands provide habitats for all sorts of things: songbirds, deer, badgers, squirrels, bugs, beasties, bats, fungi, lichens and many more besides. They even provide nice places to spend time with friends, families and pets!
  • Trees help bind soil together across the landscape meaning that they help prevent soil erosion. This is really important for farming which is why so many organic farms plant trees on their land.
  • And of course trees, planted sympathetically, help enhance landscapes and make them more interesting.

So whilst trees are not the full solution to any one issue, planting trees can provide such a huge variety of benefits that they are difficult to beat in terms of value for money!

07 January 2014 at 17:16 / Comment


I agree that it would be a cheaper option than cement walls perhaps we could have a plant a tree day. and for every one thats planted a tree the goverment should plant one as well sooooooooh!!!!!!!! much easier good luck sheilla let me know if you need support.

Comment posted by: miss sheilla burton / 19 January 2014 at 01:46

Carbon and Concrete

Thanks for the support Sheila! We are lobbying government to help get this thinking through to action on the ground. The other advantage is they wouldn't need to use all those carbon-heavy processes in producing the concrete!

Comment posted by: Grant at buy-trees-online / 20 January 2014 at 16:17

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