Peterborough eco organisations team up to plant nearly 700 trees as part of innovative ‘Tiny Forest’ project

Four environment organisations in Peterborough have teamed up in an effort to plant almost 700 trees in order to create the region’s first ‘Tiny Forest.’
Nene Valley Community CentreNene Valley Community Centre
Nene Valley Community Centre

The charity Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), Peterborough Football and Sports Development Foundation, Peterborough City Council and The Tree Council will come together this weekend (December 6-7) to plant a ‘Tiny Forest’ at the Nene Valley Community Centre on Candy Street.

The teams, alongside volunteers, will plant a variety of wildflower species and 695 trees to replicate the growing patterns of native woodland, but on a miniature scale.

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The aim of this is to help restore biodiversity in the city and tackle climate change. It will also be designed to create a fast-growing and dense forest in a tiny space, which will deliver a range of benefits for wildlife and the environment, including increased habitat and food sources.

Tiny Forests have become very popular in Europe recently and are based on the work of Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, who has planted more than 1000 such forests across Japan, Malaysia and other parts of Asia since 1980.

The forests are created by planting a variety of diverse and native plants and saplings close together in a small area, in the case of Nene Valley, tennis court size. The advantages of using native plants to create layers that mimic a natural forest include greater variety of wildlife and a more resilient ecosystem.

PECT’s Natural Environment Lead, Tony Cook, said: “Tiny Forests are quite new in the UK but are like a diverse community all working together, with the benefit of the whole community growing better as a result.

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“They create a place for the many different species to come together in an unusually small area and where they live throughout their lifecycle; short-lived trees and shrubs still only live their short lives but they do so supporting the establishment of the next generation of longer-lived trees and shrubs. This is how it works in nature.

“We are very excited to be working in partnership to plant a Tiny Forest, because we all face enormous and immediate challenges around the climate crisis that need to be tackled with innovative solutions. This offers a simple, collaborative and natural-inspired way to positively change the local environment. We hope local businesses and the government will hear about our environmental action and be enthused to support further Tiny Forests across the region.”

Fletton and Woodston Ward Councillor Alan Dowson added: “Tiny Forests are still relatively uncommon in the UK and this will be the very first created in the area. I hope that other wards in the city will follow our example, so that together we can create a network of green spaces to benefit wildlife across Peterborough and its surrounding areas.”

This project is also part of PECT’s ambitious Forest for Peterborough project, which aims to plant over 230,000 trees in and around the city by 2030.

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As part of this PECT are being supported by Waitrose, Nene Valley Community Centre, Viridor, Persimmon Homes, and Postcode Local Trust, a grant giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The event is open to volunteers and to find out more about getting involved, contact PECT’s Natural Environment Lead Tony Cook on 01733 568408 ext. 312 or email [email protected].