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First of five ‘mini-forests’ in Hampshire takes root during National Tree Week

The Tree Council

December 2, 2022

This National Tree Week, The Tree Council and volunteers began work to help a new ‘mini-forest’ take root near Petersfield, as part of ambitious plans by Hampshire County Council to plant one million trees in the county by 2050.

The new mini woodland in Sheet near Petersfield, comprising around 1,300 trees, is being planted will be created using an innovative ecological technique that enables a forest environment to grow up to ten times faster than normal, meaning a barren patch of land can become a thriving forest in just a few years. The activity forms part of Hampshire County Council’s newly created Hampshire Forest Partnership which aims to work with people and organisations to plant more trees to enhance and protect the environment.

Sara Lom, The Tree Council CEO said: “The Tree Council is delighted to be supporting the launch of this tree planting partnership, bringing communities together to deliver Hampshire’s ambitious Tree Strategy which is being delivered through the Hampshire Forest Partnership.

“Local volunteers and corporate supporters such as those planting on this site will be key to a successful long-term future for Hampshire’s trees.”

Before.
The County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Countryside and Communities, Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, said: “We are grateful to a fantastic team of volunteers and The Tree Council for joining with us to plant a wonderful new forest in Petersfield.

“The woodland will contribute to the development of a beautiful green space at this spot, and it has also been carefully designed to create the right conditions for wildlife to thrive.

“We understand this is the first time a forest has been cultivated in Hampshire that uses a pioneering Japanese method which turbo-boosts the growth of the forest, and the aim is that it provides a template for at least four more community-led mini woodlands across the county.

 

After.

“Hampshire needs more trees to reverse the devastating impact of ash die back and other diseases. Increasing tree numbers will also help us to tackle climate change and become more resilient to changing weather patterns.

“This is why we are launching the Hampshire Forest Partnership during National Tree Week to encourage communities and organisations to work together with the County Council to plant one million trees by 2050.

“This is a bold target, but we aim to work hand in hand with a wide range of partners to pool our collective resources to deliver the trees that our environment needs, now and in the future.”

The Petersfield mini-forest was kick-started this week with volunteers from The Tree Council’s Jubilee Partners, Adhurst Estate Allotments Association and members of the local community – with more planting activity due at the site in the coming weeks, supported by corporate partners such as Network Rail Southern through their community tree planting fund, and coordinated by The Tree Council.

The ‘tennis court’ sized forest is part of a wider tree planting project at this location to encourage populations of dormice at the site by improving the habitat diversity and tree cover. Specific tree species will be planted to encourage dormice and provide appropriate habitat for them to breed.

The Tree Council is aiming to install innovative technology to monitor improvements to biodiversity. The forest will also feature a seated area, so visitors can enjoy the tranquillity of the new woodland.

 

The mini forest project in Sheet will provide a blueprint for another four small forests across Hampshire using the ‘Miyawaki’ method. This aim is to create opportunities for local volunteering, partnership working with other organisations, and commercial sponsorship. The second location will be announced shortly, whilst communities are now being invited to contact the County Council with suggested locations of three additional mini forests. The technique works particularly well in urban and semi-urban settings where there is a lack of space for larger woodlands.

The Hampshire Forest Partnership aims to support residents and organisations to plant more trees to ensure a legacy for future generations to enjoy in line with the County Council’s Tree Strategy which was published in 2020. Find out more about the initiative here: Hampshire Forest Partnership | Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk).

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