FAQs

What is the process for tree planting via Trees for Climate?

Firstly, get in touch with your local Community Forest via our enquiry form here: https://englandscommunityforests.org.uk/contact-us/ 

Next, provide some basic information, such as the location of your land, your estimated planting area, current land type (e.g. former agricultural) and a map of the area.

Following that, a Woodland Advisor will get in touch and discuss your project and visit your site to assess the land. They will then work with you to design a new woodland to achieve your objectives, making sure that the right trees are planted in the right place.

Regulatory approvals may be required for your project, depending on the scale and location. We will work with you and the relevant authorities to gain the necessary permissions.

We can supply funding directly for your project, with our Trees for Climate funding covering up to 100% of the costs of tree planting, including tree guards and associated infrastructure.

If you need support delivering your project your Woodland Advisor can help you source the trees and materials needed, plus recommend contractors that can help you get the trees in the ground.

We also try as much as possible to allow you to ‘optimise your user experience’. This allows you to view and use England’s Community Forests website the way you want to – not the way we make you.

How do you protect existing habitats for local wildlife and flora?

Every planting site that we fund is visited by an experienced Woodland Advisor when the landowner first enquires about planting. We do a full assessment of the land and only sites that are suitable progress. As part of this process, we complete a risk assessment and, for larger schemes, environmental impact assessments, if required, to ensure the scheme only has a positive impact for the local wildlife and environment.

How can we plant trees and protect land that is important for food production?

We encourage landowners and farmers to plant on less productive land or land that is not in use, so as not to impact on the farm business and food production levels. Trees can benefit a farm business by creating shelter belts, reducing water loss from the soil, reducing flooding and creating shade for livestock. We have a number of schemes that are looking at agroforestry as a way of managing their land.

If you have a farm in a Community Forest area a local Woodland Advisor will visit your site and work closely with you to suggest a woodland establishment scheme that works for the farm business.

We take a flexible approach to each woodland establishment scheme and can fund schemes from 0.1ha up. These can include design elements such as grass or wildflower margins, to further improve biodiversity in the area, hedgerows plus our grants cover up to 15 years of maintenance payments.

Why are the trees planted so close together in some of the schemes you’ve planted?

Different planting schemes are planted at different intervals depending on the best design for the landowner.  One of the schemes featured in our online video has been planted at 1,100 tree stems per hectare. This works out at around 3m spacings.  We try to avoid planting in straight lines, at regular intervals, and instead plant trees more randomly in species groups of 3 to 11, to create a more natural feel to the woodland. By designing a scheme in this way we end up with areas of trees alongside areas of open space around areas that maybe rocky or water features for example.

Each planting scheme and landowner has unique requirements and objectives and so trees will be planted at a spacing which is best suited to these. Typically, we plant trees at between 2-3m spacings which works out at 2500-1100 trees per hectare. The reason for these spacings is that the young trees provide some protection for each other as they grow and ensure that a healthy woodland is established. There is always at least 20% woody shrubs included within those numbers and it’s important to remember that when planting a woodland you must follow the UK Forestry Standard which ensures a suitable and diverse species of trees is planted.

What measures are put in place to make sure the trees planted survive?

Ensuring the site is suitable for planting and planning for ongoing maintenance is really important with any planting project. Our woodland advisors work closely with landowners to provide advice on this, helping them to keep on top of their woodland management to ensure their woodlands thrive. Part of our grant offer is that we can fund a long-term maintenance plan of up to 15 years.

What does 15 years maintenance payments mean?

The length of the Agreement you enter in to when you receive a Trees for Climate grant is 15 years, this means you must look after your trees as set out in the grant for those 15 years or your grant could be reclaimed. The Grant should cover your upfront costs for planting your woodland and then leave some money left to help with maintaining your trees and other habitats.

The payments are made in 3 instalments and will equal 100% of  your Grant amount; the first payment of 70% after you have completed any ground preparation and fencing work and your trees have been planted, the second payment of 20% is after 5 years when your trees have established themselves and work has been carried out to wed around the base of the trees and any tree guards removed. The third and final payment of 10% is after 10 years after an inspection to verify your trees have successfully established.

How do you assess if the land is suitable for planting trees?

Once you complete the Expression of Interest Form an experienced Woodland Advisor will visit a landowner’s site to assess the type of land, look at the soil quality and planting in the local area.  From this assessment they will decide if a potential planting scheme is suitable and will assess all factors which need to be considered when designing the woodland, such as archaeological features, landscape character, ecology, and utilities. They will also gain any permission that may be need from government bodies like Forestry Commission and Natural England.

Why do you use plastic tree guards?

Community Forests are exploring ways to become plastic free and are currently looking into alternatives to plastic guards to find one that is both effective and sustainable. We have been trialling some of these alternative guards and are lobbying to try and get more support for non-plastic guards.

We are using plastic guards on some of our sites currently to provide the tree with the best chance to grow large enough to avoid being browsed by small animals, such as rabbits and voles. Where possible, many Community Forests recycle the plastic guards from their sites as the guards become redundant and the trees are large enough to avoid being damaged.

How do you select tree species?

Your local Woodland Advisor will assess which tree species will be suitable for your site once they have completed a site visit, this will be based on several things including the type of soil you have and the tree species which can be found locally to you.  The vast majority of the species we select will be native species, based around the woodland types that are found in the UK. Due to our changing climate, it is also important to look ahead and see which trees might thrive in the same location but in 50-100 years’ time.

Orchard creation and the planting of larger trees, known as “standards”, aren’t typically fundable through Trees for Climate but may be included in small amounts within a larger planting scheme, this would be at the discretion you the Woodland Adviser.

How does funding work for the Community Forests?

We can fund up to 100% of the costs of your woodland creation project.  This includes funding for the trees and associated infrastructure, such as fencing, guards and gates.

Once you’ve signed your landowner agreement, which details the planting scheme you will be planting on your land, you will receive your funding. 

The payments are made in 3 instalments and will equal 100% of  your Grant amount; the first payment of 70% after you have completed any ground preparation and fencing work and your trees have been planted, the second payment of 20% is after 5 years when your trees have established themselves and work has been carried out to wed around the base of the trees and any tree guards removed. The third and final payment of 10% is after 10 years after an inspection to verify your trees have successfully established.

Do the Community Forests make money from these planting schemes?

We don’t make any money from the woodland planting schemes.  We’re a partnership of Community Forests that provide grants to landowners that are interested in woodland establishment on their land. The trees are owned by the landowner once planted and any profit, from timber production for example, would be retained by them.