Two years on and the Government’s £4 million Big Tree Plant has seen over 239,000 trees planted across the country with £3.4 million of the funding already allocated to 128 groups who will be planting more than 813,000 trees.
The Big Tree Plant, launched by Defra and the Forestry Commission in 2010, is supported by a number of partner organisations and will see a million new trees planted predominantly in towns, cities and neighbourhoods by 2015.
Two and a half thousand flowering trees are to take root in Gloucester, the world’s first bee guardian city, as part of the pioneering conservation work of the Bee Guardian Foundation. ‘Trees for Bees’ is supported by Big Tree Plant scheme.
Jessie Jowers, spokesperson for the Bee Guardian Foundation, said:
“Flowering trees are a resource that each year will increase the amount of pollen and nectar produced. So it is exciting to think that in years to come the boughs of these trees could support so many bees and other pollinators.”
David Heath MP, Minister for Forestry said:
“The Big Tree Plant is an opportunity for everyone to help make neighbourhoods attractive and healthy places to live.
“The Big Tree Plant has been embraced by communities across the country including Gloucester and has proved to be a highly successful partnership between Government, civil society partners and conservation organisations including Trees for Cities.
“Seventy percent of trees in The Big Tree Plant programme will be planted in England’s most deprived areas.”
While making towns and cities more attractive places to live and work, Big Tree Plant trees are also creating new copses, supporting wildlife conservation, flood reduction through riverbank planting and helping to cool cities by reducing temperatures. More than one in ten trees being planted are creating new orchards to grow fruit so community groups can grow their own food and make jams, pickles and chutneys.
Due to the popularity of campaign, March 2013 is likely to be the final opportunity for communities to apply for the remaining share of funding from the Forestry Commission.
Mark Durk, Head of the Big Tree Plant for the Forestry Commission said:
“With only £600,000 of funding still to be allocated, now is the time to start planning your Big Tree Plant project with the next round of funding applications closing on the 15 March 2013.
“The level of motivation from partners and volunteers to make the programme a success has been astounding.”
Details of the Big Tree Plant can be found at: www.defra.gov.uk/bigtreeplant/.
For information on how community groups can apply for funding visit www.forestry.gov.uk/england-bigtreeplant.
Comprehensive information about Chalara, symptoms, how to report suspect cases, advice to the public and details of import and movement restrictions can be found on the Forestry Commission website www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara.
The campaign has the support of major bodies, environmental charities and agencies including Department for Communities and Local Government, England’s Community Forests, Forestry Commission, The Greater London Authority, Groundwork, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, The Local Government Association (LGA), Mayor of London, The National Forest, Natural England, Tree Council, Trees for Cities, The Conservation Volunteers and Woodland Trust.
Case Study Information
2,500 Flowering Trees for Bees in Gloucester
Two and a half thousand flowering trees are to take root in Gloucester, the world’s first bee guardian city, as part of the pioneering conservation work of the Bee Guardian Foundation. ‘Trees for Bees’ is supported by the Government’s Big Tree Plant scheme, launched by the Forestry Commission and Defra in 2010.
Among the trees to be planted along road sides, in playing fields, parks, community orchards and school campuses, are wild cherry, white beam, lime, rowan and local varieties of plum, apple and pear trees. As the different trees blossom throughout the year the flowers provide a high source of nectar and pollen across the ten month bee flight season.
The trees are to be planted by local volunteers and community groups with the help of tree wardens from Gloucester City Council.
On Thursday 13 December pupils and parents from Longlevens Primary School were taking part and planting a ‘Trees for Bees’ orchard within the school grounds.
Jessie Jowers, spokesperson for the Bee Guardian Foundation, said: “Research into the benefits of trees for bees is at its inception but flowering trees are a resource that each year will increase the amount of pollen and nectar produced. So when we are putting these trees in the ground it is exciting to think that in years to come their boughs could support so many bees and other pollinators.”
With 46 of the UK’s 267 species of bee, Gloucester achieved the status of World’s First Bee Guardian City in 2011 by converting 10,000 square metres of bedding plants to nectar and pollen-rich herbaceous perennials and wildflower meadows. In 2012 the area increased to 15,000 squares metres and is looking to double in 2013.
The Bee Guardian Foundation also delivered a huge educational program across city running workshops and giving talks to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the UK’s diverse pollinator species. The people of Gloucester made over 2000 wooden bee houses for cavity nesting bees.
Jessie Jowers continued: “Planting wild flowers around the city has had such a positive response from people bringing colour to road sides, parks and other community green spaces. While trees take many years to grow to achieve the same visual impact as the meadows we have created, we hope that our trees for bees will be as well received by local people.”
The Bee Guardian Project has been such a success in Gloucester that the Foundation has been approached to run a similar campaign for towns and cities across the UK. However, its plan is to deliver the Bee Guardian Project in a further six towns and cities across the South West to begin with including Bristol.
The Big Tree Plant scheme has been so popular that March 2013 will most likely be the final opportunity for communities to apply for the remaining share of funding from the Forestry Commission. For more information visit http://www.defra.gov.uk/bigtreeplant/ or to apply visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-bigtreeplant
· There are more than 20,000 bee species worldwide
· Bees pollinate around 84 per cent of Europe’s crops
· The value of bees to UK agriculture is £510million per annum
· The UK has 267 species, one honey bee, 25 bumble bees and the rest are solitary bees
· Two species of bumblebee have gone extinct in the UK and the Native British honeybee is virtually extinct
· Between 1985 and 2005, bee colony numbers have declined by 53% in England, 23% in Wales and 15% in Scotland
· Bee diversity has decreased in 52% of UK landscapes since 1980
· In the UK some 97 per cent of wild flower meadows have been lost in the last 60 years
· The largest land use in the UK (70%) is for agriculture and the use of pesticides has increased which effects bees
· The replacement cost if bees where lost would be £1.8 billion per year to agriculture
· Cultural value of bees for wildlife and people is £2.7 billion per year
Decline of England’s Bees:
Policy review and Recommendations
Simon G. Potts
Prof. of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Deputy Director: Centre for Food Security
The Bee Guardian Foundation
Established in 2009, the Bee Guardian Foundation is an educational conservation organisation that aims to help all bee species and other pollinators, empowering people, institutions, companies, towns and cities to become “Bee Guardians”.
Bee Guardians make a commitment to manage land in a bee-friendly way by not using pesticides, creating nesting sites, planting bee-friendly plants and trees, learning more about bees and spreading the word. For more information visit http://www.beeguardianfoundation.org/
Source: Forestry Commission