THE Isle of Man Woodland Trust has launched a major tree planting campaign – and is branching out with a Christmas fund-raiser.
Its Plant a Manx Tree in Twenty One Three was unveiled at the Forestry Division’s headquarters in St John’s.
The aim is to plant 2,013 trees across the island next year to increase the coverage from the present estimated 6 per cent closer to the UK’s 12 per cent or the EU’s 45 per cent.
Present at the start of the campaign on Friday was Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne MHK whose department has donated two parcels of land at St John’s for tree planting.
The Woodland Trust has also launched a Christmas e-card. Designed by Manx artist Richard Kinley, the e-cards cost £2 and for each one sent the charity will plant another tree.
And the charity has come up with a great festive gift idea – for £25 you can have a tree planted with a name plaque.
Professor Simon Maddrell of the Woodland Trust said: ‘We aim to plant at least 2,013 trees next year and, if we can, many more than that.
‘Our main motives for planting trees, apart from the great visual pleasure they afford, are to increase ecological diversity and to increase the amount of carbon dioxide that the trees will remove from the atmosphere.
‘A family car on average puts out 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. And an acre of woodland absorbs about the same every year. So, rather neatly, one acre of trees balances one car. So the more trees we can plant the better. However, there is no danger of our significantly altering the look of our the island any time soon as we calculate that it would take many decades to increase our tree cover even to 5 per cent. But we will do our best.’
Every fortnight in the tree planting season from late September to early April, a 10-strong team of volunteers from the Woodland Trust go out and plant between 150 and 200 trees, and sometimes more. These are mainly Manx native broadleaved trees although occasionally some Scots pine.
Following the outbreak of ash dieback disease in the UK, the trust’s policy is to plant no more ash trees until the picture is clearer.
The trust also owns and actively manages two woods, a mature one at Crosby and a small young one at Glen Maye. It is appealing for more volunteers, including school groups, to come forward to help with the planting.
To buy a Christmas e-card, log into the charity’s website at www.isleofmanwoodlandtrust.com.
Spokesman Fionnuala Perren said: ‘There is no last posting date to worry about. We will send out to you up to midnight on December 24. Log on to our website, choose an image, write a message to go in the card, leave the email address and pay £2 via Pay Pal.
‘It really is that easy. And for every one sent, we will plant a tree in Twenty One Three.’