Where do our trees come from?
With increasing numbers of tree pests and diseases present in the UK, it's important that we have confidence in the stock that we use for both our estate and on third party land.
Our procurement processes ensure that every tree used and supplied by the Woodland Trust has been sourced and grown within the British Isles, and is fully traceable from seed collection through to planting. To enable this we have put in place the biggest tree growing contract in the organisation's history, investing more than £4.5 million since 2014.
How does it work?
Seeds are collected across the UK and sent to nurseries to be grown on into saplings, which are then distributed to individuals, schools, communities and other landowners for planting around the country.
Behind the scenes we obtain seed certificates for all collections so the source can always be identified. Seed deliveries to nurseries are coded and batched, and sown into seed beds and growing areas designated exclusively for Woodland Trust stock; these stock codes are retained right through to dispatch using both computer records and physical labelling, enabling us to track individual trees at every stage of their journey and giving us full visibility of the supply chain.
Why is this important?
Responsible tree procurement is central to developing resilient woodlands by limiting the risk of spreading arboreal diseases and pests through plant imports.
Large-scale procurement of appropriate stock is a cornerstone of the Trust's goal to plant 64 million trees by 2025, enables us to get the best value from our supporters' money and to develop productive partnerships with the wider UK forestry sector.
UK Sourced and Grown (UKSG)
Our ‘UK Sourced and Grown Assurance Scheme’ (UKSG) is a voluntary initiative for forest nurseries that identifies the provenance of stock to buyers and assures that trees have been raised from seed sourced and grown solely within the United Kingdom for its entire lifespan. While not a licensed industry standard, UKSG is the benchmark for tree procurement at the Woodland Trust. As a major wholesale buyer of nursery stock, we’re proud to buy British and believe strongly that all new trees planted in UK woodlands and forests should be UKSG.
The Woodland Trust appointed auditors to inspect and approve participating nurseries, meaning all saplings sold as UKSG are independently audited at every stage of their production.
Participating nurseries may identify and market UKSG on qualifying stock, and are not excluded from growing non-UKSG stock.
Extra security against tree pests and diseases
Imported pests and diseases pose a significant threat to our native trees, and the focus of the UKSG scheme is biosecurity. By endorsing British-grown plants we hope to promote a reduced reliance on imported planting stock and limit the associated risk of pests and diseases being introduced from abroad. In this way the scheme adds further protection for our native trees, complementing the range of measures already in place at borders and across the UK.
As of April 2018, 22 nurseries have qualified for UKSG Assured status – including some of the largest producers in the UK.