Last week saw the start of an exciting new research project that aims to discover new forestry tree species for the future. Wander up to the Elm plots at the top end of Waste Drive and you’ll find contractors busy clearing the ground ready for the first saplings to be planted.
Working with Forest Research and eleven other institutions along the European Atlantic coast, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is taking part in a major EU-funded Interreg (inter regional) project that aims to grow and monitor a range of different tree species that might be important to our future forestry planning.
Thirty different species have been carefully selected and each participating site will grow 36 specimens of each species, from three different seed provenances. These seed provenances have been carefully chosen from across the climatic range for each species. Scientists will monitor the specimens as they grow as well as collecting weather data for each site. By pooling the data recorded we will be able to gain a better understanding of how different tree species and seed provenances respond to a range of different climatic conditions. This information will help forest managers to choose species that suit the future climate predicted for their local area; ensuring we safeguard our future forests.