Recyclable tree shelters protect Commonwealth Legacy Forests

As part of its commitment to the Commonwealth Legacy Forest Project, water company Severn Trent has pledged to plant a massive 2,022 acres of new forest and is using Tubex Recyclable tree shelters to protect the new saplings.

Severn Trent, as Nature and Carbon Neutral Supporter of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth games, and the lead organisation behind the project, is committed to creating new woodland across the Midlands over the coming years. This will be spread both across Severn Trent land and on private land owned by volunteers who have signed up to the project.

Recyclable tree shelters protect Commonwealth Legacy Forests

Recyclable tree shelters protect Commonwealth Legacy Forests

The Legacy Forest Project was established in part to offset the carbon emissions from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The initiative has seen 455 acres of new woodland created since planting began in 2021, with a mixture of cell-grown native broadleaf and conifer saplings supplied by Alba Trees.

Planting is being facilitated by Severn Trent’s dedicated forestry team who must tackle a huge variety of planting locations and site conditions. This has been a challenge, requiring constant adaptation, coupled with the need to secure planning permission for each individual location.

However, the permissions challenge has been somewhat alleviated thanks to access to larger planting sites in Nottinghamshire and Shropshire.

Matthew Wilcoxon, Senior Forestry Manager at Severn Trent, said: “Our team at Severn Trent is really proud to be part of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Forest Project and play a role in protecting our environment for generations to come.

“Not only is the replanting effort helping offset the carbon emissions from the games, but it’s a big win for the water quality because of improved water runoff, and the biodiversity in the area will thrive.”

Tubex’s Recyclable tree shelter range, which contains an average of 35% recycled content, was specified to protect the new saplings. Matthew Wilcoxon explained the choice: “Tubex is a leading manufacturer. Their shelters have longevity and a brilliant collection and recycling scheme for end-of-life.”

The Severn Trent forestry team intends to use Tubex’s Collection & Recycling Programme to ensure the responsible disposal and recycling of used shelters.

Peter Stevens, Business Development Manager at Tubex said, “The Commonwealth Legacy Forest Project is a fantastic initiative and we are delighted that Tubex shelters will play a vital role in the creation of this much needed new woodland.

“For projects at this scale, recyclable polypropylene (PP) tree shelters are the lowest impact solution if recycled at end of life. Our Collection & Recycling Programme is there to make recycling as accessible as possible and allowing projects such as this to implement the most sustainable tree protection solution possible”.

Of particular note was the forestry team’s intention to potentially leave shelters in place for longer than the usual five years, in order to protect the bark of young trees.

“Deer often like to scratch themselves on trees and this can damage the bark at a time when the young tree is still vulnerable. Because of that, we’re looking at leaving the shelters in place for longer than is typical to ensure maximum survival rates”.

With climate change likely to alter site conditions over the coming century, future climate modelling has also been central to the forestry team’s planning.

Each site is analysed using Forest Research’s Ecological Site Checker tool, which uses soil moisture and soil nutrients data to project future planting conditions. With those projections, Severn Trent can determine whether species will still be suitable for predicted conditions in 2050 or even 2080.

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