Aerial laser helps National Trust decide where to plant 75,000 trees

The technology will identify areas for planting that avoid damaging any significant archaeological remains

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An aerial laser has been used in a project launched by the National Trust to help decide where to plant 75,000 trees on the Wallington Estate in Northumberland.

Funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, the £800,000 project is part of the charity’s commitment to plant 20 million trees by 2030.

The so-called LiDAR aerial mapping technology offers data on farming practices and other archeological features of the landscape dating back to 2,000 BC.

It has collected measurements between a light aircraft as it flies over the ground to generate a detailed map of the ground surface.

The National Trust said it is the first time it uses the technology in such a large area, an estimated 5,431 hectares of land.

National Trust Archaeological Consultant Mark Newman said: “The LiDAR findings have shone a light on much more than we could have imagined so that we can better understand the history of the landscape to help inform plans for its future.

“Embracing, valuing, understanding and respecting the cultural landscape is completely complementary to planting for the benefit of the natural environment we must achieve, through planting projects like this, in our fight against the climate crisis.”

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