Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy for chopping down the iconic Sycamore Gap tree in the UK.
According to The Guardian, the male suspect was released on police bail on Friday after he was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage to the 300-year-old Sycamore Gap tree.
“A 16-year-old male was arrested in connection with the incident. He has since been released on police bail, pending further inquiries,” a Northumbria police spokesperson said.
The tree, one of the country’s most photographed trees, was featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and won the 2016 England Tree of the Year award.
“Northumberland National Park Authority can confirm that, sadly, the famous tree at Sycamore Gap has come down overnight. We have reason to believe it has been deliberately felled,” a Northumberland National Park Authority said in a statement, as reported by Hexham Courant.
“We are working with the relevant agencies and partners with an interest in this iconic North East landmark and will issue more details once they are known.”
“Sycamore Gap was voted English Tree of the Year in 2016 in the Woodland Trust’s awards and is much-loved by people from across the world.”
Robert Macfarlane, an award-winning landscape writer and poet, said that the felling of the Sycamore gap tree reflected “a broader hostile environment towards the living world in this country.”
“Our focus really shouldn’t be on the offender here. I think it’s on the culture,” he added.
During an appearance on Radio 4’s Today program on Friday, Macfarlane noted that the famous tree was chopped down on the eve of the publication of the State of Nature report, which provides an update on the state of the UK’s wildlife. The report found that one in six species is headed for possible extinction.
Despite the loss of the tree, Macfarlane also noted a “positive side” to the response that took place afterward.
“What a response it has called out: grief, poems, paintings, drawings, photographs, stories, memories. How do we use that feeling, the strength of that feeling, and turn it to the good?”
He hopes the incident will result in greater protection for “venerable standard trees” and a new forest will be planted in honor of the fallen tree.
“The best way to remember the loss of the tree, I would say, is with the gain of the forest. We are drastically deforested and have Europe’s second-lowest forest cover. Let us reforest the uplands. Let us see a Sycamore Gap forest rise for the loss of a tree.”
Andrew Poad, the general manager of The National Trust, told BBC Breakfast that there is hope that the tree would grow again from its stump.
“It’s a very healthy tree; we can see that now, because of the condition of the stump, it may well regrow a coppice from the stump, and if we could nurture that, then that might be one of the best outcomes, and then we keep the tree.”
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jeff J Mitchell/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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