National tree seed project success

Brookes Reserve by Peter Bowden

Brookes Reserve by Peter Bowden - Credit: Archant

Charlie Oliver of the Essex Wildlife Trust provides a monthly update. This month the National Tree Seed Project is bearing fruit

Essex Wildlife Trust, through the Living Landscapes initiative, has been working in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank and other partners to deliver the UK National Tree Seed Project. Funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, it aims to protect the UK’s trees.

The project launched in May 2013 with a list of priority native trees and shrubs targeted for collection. Species include ash, common juniper, Scots pine, common alder, common beech, silver birch and yew.

Tree seeds collected are banked in underground vaults at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. These play a vital role in conservation work to protect UK trees and woodlands, including against pests and diseases, such as ash dieback. The collections, and associated data, will be available to researchers working on solutions to tackle the threats facing woodlands.

Essex Wildlife Trust joined the project in 2014 and so far has made 11 collections from eight nature reserves. Collections donated to the seed bank in 2014, including Wild Service from Brookes Nature Reserve near Braintree, now form part of the same collection as seeds from Bulgaria, Israel, Italy and Spain.

Clare Trivedi, the UK National Tree Seed Project co-ordinator, said: ‘Almost all of the nation’s favourite trees species are affected by pests and diseases. We are thrilled that Essex Wildlife Trust is working with the UK National Tree Seed Project. Contributions from partners are absolutely vital.’

Collections made and donated by the trust last year are currently going through the curation process of cleaning, drying, x-raying and germination, and EWT looks forward to contributing further collections this year to this vital project.

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