Exploring novel ways to reduce the costs of quality tree establishment through Defra’s Shared Outcomes Fund

The Tree Council’s Trees Outside Woodlands project is a £2.5 million investment over the next three years to plant and encourage vital trees in our landscapes, supporting England’s commitment to increase tree cover by planting, establishing and maintaining trees that thrive. It is part of HM Treasury’s £200m Shared Outcomes Fund.

To tackle the dual threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, we know that we must establish more healthy trees and take care of the ones we already have.

Trees in parks, in our streets, hedges, farmland and orchards provide multiple benefits to people and the environment. Trees improve the air we breathe contribute to our health and wellbeing, and provide vital wildlife corridors. Tree planting in these locations can be complex and expensive.

Innovative pilot projects that explore what works in tree planting

Working with partners, we will explore novel ways to reduce the costs of tree planting in our cities, towns and countryside and increase the supply of locally produced, biosecure tree stock through a series of ambitious studies. This will support efforts to tackle and mitigate climate change, tackle biodiversity loss and promote greater health and wellbeing by establishing trees within communities.

Planting trees that thrive

The Shared Outcomes Fund will increase our understanding of effective tree planting and natural regeneration through on-the-ground projects in partnership with five local authorities coordinated by The Tree Council. The programme includes:
  • A study that compares natural regeneration versus seed sowing on our roadside verges.
  • Research into the role of natural regeneration to help achieve increased tree cover at a landscape scale.
  • Investigation of the relationship between biodiversity net gain and how that is impacted by tree loss in built developments.
  • Hedgerow pilot projects to explorehow simple changes in planting and managing hedgerow trees could reverse tree losses in a cost-effective way
  • Engaging with farmers and other landowners to find novel ways to increase orchards and agroforestry on their land.
  • Assessing to what extent subsidised tree schemes work and the survival rates of different approaches.
  • Exploring ways to increase the number and productivity of community tree nurseries to provide locally produced planting stock from locally collected seed and supporting local skills and training.
  • Undertaking urban trees establishment experiments testing a wide variety of techniques

The project is a collaboration between Defra, The Tree Council, Natural England, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Forestry Commission, Highways England, Network Rail and five local authorities in England.


Check back soon for updates from the Trees Outside Woodlands project.


Local authority tree strategies

Every local authority should have a Tree Strategy, a living document which guides all of their tree work. We work with local authorities around the country to learn what works and how we can encourage all local authorities to have an ambitious, up-to-date strategy for their trees.