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Charity set to reshape conservation sector with plastic free planting pledge - Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust is set to revolutionise the conservation sector as it pledges to end the use of new plastic tree shelters from its sites by the end of the year.

Credit Phil Formby/WTML (Photos are taken at Avoncliff, Wiltshire, one of the trial sites for plastic free planting. In the photos is Woodland Trust site manager Joe Middleton).
Credit Phil Formby/WTML (Photos are taken at Avoncliff, Wiltshire, one of the trial sites for plastic free planting. In the photos is Woodland Trust site manager Joe Middleton).

The charity, which hopes to plant 10 million trees each year to 2025, (around 2.3m on its own estate) has announced this as part of the largest body of work on the subject. Over the last two years it has carried out rigorous trials of plastic free alternatives which will be scaled up dramatically by the end of the year.

The charity has worked with top academics, launching the UK’s largest body of research on plastic free alternative tree guards.

Chief executive of the Woodland Trust Darren Moorcroft said: “As one of the nation’s largest tree planters, by committing to go plastic free in terms of the use of tree shelters we are set to be the trail blazers in this field and catalysing a permanent change to the tree planting world. We know the importance of planting trees – they are the natural solution to the climate crisis, soaking up CO2 and delivering oxygen, whilst combating the nature crisis by creating new habitats. But the stark reality is without tree protection, young trees don’t stand much chance. Across the sector, plastics have long been the first port of call turned to as the option due to their longevity and ability to protect the saplings from predators. But of course, they don’t biodegrade and are not environmentally friendly. We all need millions of new trees, want to turn the industry on its head once and for all and we have the chance to finally solve this puzzle through new sustainable approaches to tree establishment.”

Tree protection is an essential part of tree planting – protecting young saplings from the likes of rabbits and deer in their crucial first stages of growth.

Whilst the Woodland Trust currently removes the plastic tubes from its sites and recycles them, the charity has been working hard for some time to find long term, effective alternative products.

Posted on: 07 July 2021

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