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New Woodland Planting: Creating a Resilient Forest

Monday, 4th July 2016

New Woodland Planting

As The National Forest celebrates its 25th anniversary, James Latham Limited has announced an increase in its ongoing support for the National Forest Company (NFC), the organisation that works to create and look after The National Forest.

James Latham's support is enabling the substantial work that has been taking place at the NFC's site on Nanpantan Road, Leicestershire, where a new woodland has been created using a different kind of planting mix designed to be more resilient to climate change.

Although it is principally a large new native woodland, a small element of mixed conifers has been included, partly to reflect the wider landscape (which features the magnificent Scots pine) but mainly to increase diversity and promote longer term resilience of the woodland.

The site features a selection of species, all recommended for their likely resilience in the longer term in relation to increasing climatic variation, such as Silver Fir, Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Serbian Spruce, Deodar and Japanese Red Cedar.

These species are being trialled on the site, but with every expectation that they will thrive, based on the predictions of the Forestry Commission Ecological Site Classification model which shows suitability of species for planting in different parts of the UK.

Chris Sutton, Chairman and Managing Director of Lathams Limited commented, "Our partnership with the National Forest Company is really important to us as it is such a good fit with our own company ethos and it is great to be able to play our part in the Forest's continuing development. With 7.8 million visitors annually, as well as the beautiful landscape that is being created, it now includes over 45 new sport and recreation facilities for people to enjoy and we are looking forward to growing this partnership further in future years."

He added, "We have an annual day in the Forest with customers, suppliers and staff and it is always eagerly anticipated plus, we encourage our own staff to use the Forest with their families."

Simon West, Head of Forestry for NFC, said: "In the future we hope to use the site at Nanpantan Road as a demonstration of the use of alternative species for future woodland creation in the Forest.  We have also begun to use species such as Silver Fir to underplant areas of ash on some of our sites, as the ash is likely to die out in the short to medium term.  Again, we would like to use such areas to demonstrate to other owners and managers options for managing their own areas of ash planting that may be similarly affected in the future."

Resilience is of increasing concern in forest creation and species choice within forestry across the country and the work taking place in The National Forest adds to the bank of knowledge and practical experience that the NFC can offer the industry.