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Joining the growth

Our partnership with Earthwatch Europe’s Tiny Forest initiative is an exclusive for the heating industry and gives our customers access to a national programme of tree planting. To date, Earthwatch and its Tiny Forest scheme has already helped over 150 new forest sites be planted across the UK and the number is on the rise.

Bringing many benefits and opportunities with it, we work with our customers and the charity to establish new, much needed green spaces in urban areas as well as providing effective, tangible ways for our customers to help meet carbon reduction targets as part of project plans.

Every Tiny Forest sits on an area the size of a tennis court and houses around 600 species of trees and shrubs to create an area reflective of a natural forest - complete with four forest layers: shrub, understory, subcanopy and canopy. As each site is individual, it brings its own requirements and challenges, which means no two sites are the same.

Tiny Forests plans and creates designs, and planting formations that are very much bespoke to the area and are developed using local native plant and tree species. This ensures each site not only looks great in its new location but will offer the most effective carbon capture, rainwater processing, wildlife habitat and the overall hardiness of the site once complete. Locally sourced plants provide further benefits to the area, supporting local businesses and limiting the amount of travel needed to get the plants to site.

The result is a forest that is very much unique to the region.

As a living site, the impact of each Tiny Forest will continue to grow and develop over many years, rather than having a short lifespan, and further increasing the environmental benefits of each project. For Vaillant, this is also a long-term commitment, and we are expecting to help source and regenerate even more sites throughout 2022 and beyond.

Tracking the progress of the site provides ongoing, usable statistics too. Monitoring is carried out on an annual basis to assess the change and benefit to biodiversity and wildlife in the area, flood risk negation and carbon capture to quantify its impact.

It is carried out annually by trained citizen scientists as part of monitoring days, and looks at biodiversity, thermal comfort, flood management and carbon capture. Local schools are also invited to be part of the monitoring events taking place at their nearest Tiny Forest.

Carbon capture, for instance, is monitored via measuring the diameter of the tree trunks and heights per species following the first growing season (one year). This establishes a baseline value of carbon stored and will be used to calculate the annual carbon capture going forward.

Further biodiversity studies monitor the abundance and diversity of invertebrates visiting the site, including pollinators and ground-dwelling species. Flooding is observed via tests looking at water drainage in the Tiny Forest verses areas outside the forest. Average values for thermal comfort changes are also collected using live data from weather stations located in the middle, edge and outside of the planted area, with temperature (degrees C), humidity (%) and wind speed (m/s) all collated as part of the results.

Perceptions of weather changes from those living in the surrounding area are also gathered and added to the results.

The outcome is an engaging, usable, educational space that will continue to provide measurable biodiverse results for years to come.

Those interested in finding out more about the Tiny Forest initiative and whether it is suitable for your project, contact us by filling out the form.