This year marks the 50th anniversary of National Tree Week. An annual celebration that kicks off the tree planting season.
Planting 18 hectares of woodland and hundreds of trees
With the UK celebrating its largest annual tree celebration, we want to share the progress on our long-term commitment to planting over 18 hectares of woodland and trees (the equivalent of 25 football pitches), along with hundreds of additional trees to be planted across our two community parks.
Creating long term environmental benefit
Stretching across 109 acres, the two community parks will become a place for people to enjoy while delivering environmental improvements that deliver long-term benefits for the landscape, habitats and the wildlife that live there.
The trees planted will include species that already occur and grow naturally in the area, ensuring they are best placed for biodiversity interest and benefits. Planting will include oak trees to support insects and birds, and some native black poplars to help the population of this rare species.
The new woodland tree planting will extend throughout the two parks and be planted in a phased approach, with the first phase starting early 2025.
Maintaining and managing the new woodland and tree planting
Our phased approach will include a long-term maintenance and management plan to help ensure the best start for the young plants; helping them to grow and flourish so they can establish and mature to bring their own long-term landscape and biodiversity benefits.
Native black poplars
As part of WMI’s commitment to biodiversity net gain and sustainability, we commissioned Whiting Nursery last summer to propagate some 200 hardwood cuttings from a rare sub-species of Black Poplar, that was found onsite. This is a tree identified by the Forestry Commission as the most endangered native timber tree in Britain.
Despite some initial challenges with Sciarid fly larvae affecting root development, we have a batch of cuttings that have put on significant growth. Consideration will now be given as to how and when they can be incorporated into the future planting schemes across WMI.
Supporting long term local government policies
The environmental work that WMI is delivering across the community parks aligns to South Staffordshire’s Open Space Strategy 2024-2028 and the Sustainable Development SPD. These are aiming to deliver an increase in new tree cover and woodland in the district, along with conserving and improving wildlife corridors (such as hedgerows and woodland edges, rivers and streams) that allow species to move between habitat areas and encourage increased populations.
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