Hundreds of trees are to be planted in the grounds of Myerscough College as part of a project to promote sustainable growth and use of coniferous trees across the UK.
The Bilsborrow based agricultural college will be one of the first in the country to join the ‘Conifers For Colleges’ scheme, working with the Royal Forestry Society (RFS).
The planting will give students opportunity to monitor trees growth and present research which will be available to woodland owners and managers nationwide.
In total, around 400 coniferous trees, made up of 18 different species, as well as a further 100 additional broadleaf trees, all with tree guards, will be planted.
The project is being set up in response to challenges from climate change, pests and diseases meaning the traditional five big coniferous timber species may no longer be as reliable.
Phil Tanner, education manager for the RFS, an educational charity, said: “Foresters of the future will need to know about a wider mix of species and where they are likely to grow best. Students will be involved in planting and monitoring the development of the trees annually and in developing a variety of research projects, making the information freely available on the SilviFuture database so that woodland owners and managers across the UK will be able to access the information to see what trees might be compatible with their growing conditions.”
Duncan Slater, a senior lecturer in arboriculture at Myerscough College, said: “This planting represents a great opportunity for the College to interact further with the forestry industry.
“We already train students in woodland management practices and practical courses in the use of chainsaws, tree climbing and the safe use of arboricultural machinery.
“Our diploma and degree students are all taught about and involved in tree-related research, so this project adds another opportunity for learning for both our current and future students and adds to the suite of scientific trials the college is undertaking on-campus and within the industry.” Mr Tanner added: “The project is providing a unique opportunity for the students involved to get first-hand knowledge of species about which many within the current forestry industry know very little. And it will mean they will be exceptionally well placed when they qualify to help ensure the UK’s timber industry flourishes.”
An area for the new research plot on campus has already been identified and planting will begin in the autumn.