Tree Planting: Dos and Don'ts

Planting properly

We're incredibly proud to be launching our very own tree planting operation, with a tree planted for every SustainaBox we sell. The operation will begin in January 2021 and has been endorsed by the Woodland Trust. The Woodland Trust sees new woodland planting as one of the three main aims for forestry in the UK: protection of existing sites; restoration of degraded woodland; and creation of new forests. When we started planning our operation, we quickly realised that planting trees isn’t as simple as it sounds. The recent history of domestic planting in the UK is littered with examples of damaging planting initiatives. In the 1980s bogs, peatlands and moorlands were planted with conifer (cone-bearing seed plants) which caused widespread damage to the environment. The plants dried out the soil, releasing the carbon locked in the peatlands into the atmosphere. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are littered with monocultural conifer plantations that offer little when it comes to creating a diverse ecological environment. Darren Moorcroft, the chief executive of the Woodland Trust stipulates that when planting trees ‘It’s about the right tree in the right place’.  

The right tree

Every tree planted by Sustainabox will be native to Britain and we will exclusively use broadleaf trees. Native broadleaf woodlands are often more suitable than the timber -producing conifer forests, and varying the species planted means they are less vulnerable to disease than monocultures.  There are several reasons why it is so important that every seed we use is sourced from the UK. For one native insects, birds and other animals have adapted to utilise the food and shelter that they provide.  In addition, trees that are native to the U.K don’t require fertiliser and will grow far more easily as well as being resilient to their native climate.  Using non-native trees in the UK can also cause the influx of exotic pests and diseases which ravage UK forests.  Just to put into context how devastating these diseases can be, in the next 10-20 years it is estimated that due to ash dieback alone we will lose 150 million mature trees and 2 billion saplings.  Using trees that have never been overseas is the most effective way to protect our forests from the threat of overseas pests and diseases.

The right place

Every tree planted by SustainaBox will be planted as guided by the Woodland Trust. Wherever you plant it is essential that you involve the local community so that the community surrounding these forests will have a stake in their future. Creating diverse ecosystems should be the primary aim of tree planting. Government schemes often prioritise the number of trees they plant over their placement and ability to provide good habitats for local wildlife. Trees should be planted in wavy lines with varied spacings just as they would grow in a naturally evolved forest.  Creating glades within woodlands is also essential.  Open areas within the forest allow varied habitats and will enhance biodiversity.

We hope that following these steps will allow us to create a balanced and thriving ecosystem funded by SustainaBox. Once planted, we will monitor and maintain our trees closely to ensure that they flourish and grow to healthy maturity.

Click on the map on our Tree Planting page to discover more about where our trees are being planted.


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