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The offshoots of success

We are delighted to see several of our Tiny Forests projects, created in partnership with our specifier customers, now establishing at sites across the UK. Each site, built in an area the size of a tennis court, was chosen due to green spaces and natural habitats previously being either non-existent or limited in the area, and where this leafy addition will have an ongoing, positive effect on both the environment and the people who live there.

For those choosing to partner with us on this Tiny Forests scheme, the first step is finding and evaluating the right site. Vaillant works closely with the charity and our customers to find a suitable location that works for all. This might be close to a development site, or perhaps more widely in the surrounding area where our customers are working. Once possible spaces are found, the soil is appraised for its properties, flood potential and the area reviewed for wildlife status and the most suitable space selected.

Despite its size, approximately 600 varieties of trees, shrubs and plants are needed at each Tiny Forest location. Using local, cell-grown saplings for each project has many far-reaching benefits. Limiting transportation impacts is the most obvious of these, but it also ensures successful growth at each site. For instance, the saplings Tiny Forests planted at our Glasgow site were sourced from Alba Trees in East Lothian, meaning they are hardy enough to thrive in even the harshest Scottish winters.

The tree-planting methodology the charity uses equally encourages rapid growth, minimises maintenance, and means the forest can be quickly established without fertilisers or chemicals being used. Significant growth can be expected from year one, with the trees being over head height by year five.

Community involvement is encouraged from the outset. The planting days are open to volunteers from the area to learn about the type of trees selected and the benefits each will bring to the area. And, to keep it looking fantastic and in good health when in its initial growing phase, each Tiny Forest also needs to be maintained by a team of local volunteers called ‘Tree Keepers’, so people can continue to play a key role and have ownership of their forest.

Looking to the future, the Tiny Forest spaces can be used in a variety of ways and will vary from site to site. Some existing sites have been earmarked for children to explore as part of science and art programmes, outdoor meeting spaces for the community and even exercise groups, as well as for the general enjoyment of the local community.

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.