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New tree-planting drive to fight climate change

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A NEW tree-planting drive to combat climate change and sustain wildlife has been launched – as a campaign group calls for the creation of green spaces to be included in new building developments.

Jonny Parkes

The National Trust for Jersey is aiming for thousands of trees to be planted during the Hedge Fund programme. Trust land manager Jon Parkes hopes the project will be so successful the organisation will smash its previous record of planting 8,000 shrubs and trees in one year.

The trust is also calling for the new Island Plan to require developers to provide sustainable green spaces. Under the States’ Percentage for Art scheme developers are encouraged to include an artistic element to increase the Island’s public art realm. Mr Parkes said that should be extended to landscaping.

‘We wouldn’t want to take away from art or culture, but it is crucial that the new Island Plan incorporates net environmental gain to ensure that all new developments actually deliver an enhanced environment,’ he said. ‘This could be both on and off a site, thereby providing a potential source of funding for new woodland planting.’

The Hedge Fund is a partnership between the trust, government, farmers and other environmental groups.

Countries the world over are adopting reforestation schemes as part of the international effort to combat the threat of climate change and pollution, and to improve soil and water quality. Trees are crucial to achieving such aims as they not only produce oxygen and clean the air, they also help to stabilise land and provide shelter for wildlife.

Last year, the UK government launched a 25-year strategy aimed at planting 180,000 hectares of new forest by the end of 2042.

Jersey’s tree cover is estimated to be about 7%, compared to France which has around 28%, while almost three-quarters of Finland is covered with forests.

‘We already plant around 2,000 hedging shrubs and trees every year – our record is 8,000 in one year – but we want to do better and the Hedge Fund will be exactly how it sounds, a fund purely for planting trees and hedges.’

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New woodlands have already been planted at La Coupe and in St Peter and he says there are more projects in the pipeline.

‘In 2020 we are aiming to plant 1,000 trees in Mourier Valley to complement existing woodland and continuing a previous Jersey Trees for Life initiative,’ Mr Parkes said.

The trust is asking anyone, including householders with a garden, to get planting.

‘Islanders can see if they have an opportunity to plant trees on or around their properties,’ he said.

‘Native species such as common oak, wild cherry or sweet chestnut are great but there are lots of non-native trees which are also valuable for wildlife.

‘Approximately 70% of the trust’s agricultural land is tenanted so it would be hugely beneficial if other landowners could get behind the Hedge Fund project by insisting that their tenants plant and manage hedgerows for the benefit of wildlife, as well as providing effective shelter belts for crops and livestock.’

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
author

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