The Premier Paper Group, the UK’s largest independent paper merchant, has held the latest of its successful tree planting action days on 23rd March in conjunction with the Woodland Trust, with some 1,000 new sapling trees planted by customers and staff at the Pullabrook Wood in the Bovey Valley National Nature Reserve.
Braving torrential rain and wintery conditions, members of Premier’s staff, together with some 20 customers, helped to plant around 1,000 saplings at Pullabrook Wood, helping to regrow and reflourish a forest area which had suffered an outbreak of the tree disease spread by Japanese Larch, a non-native tree species that was introduced to the woodland shortly after the Second World War.
This plant disease is sadly becoming an increasing problem for woodland owners as it gradually spreads and infects larch trees. It is a fungus-like disease which spreads and that causes extensive damage to trees and other plants, but is particularly dominant where stands of larch are growing in timber plantations. Since 2009, when it was discovered infecting and killing large numbers of Japanese larch trees in South West England, the Forestry Commission has developed a surveillance programme to monitor the spread of the infection.
The disease is regularly referred to by its scientific name Phytophthora ramorum and was diagnosed at Pullabrook Woods by the Forestry Commission’s Plant Health Team earlier last year. To reduce the chances of continuing infection, the larch stands had to be clear felled at the site prior to this recent event, and so following this, the area was prepared and cleared in preparation for the tree planting day by Premier staff and students from Exeter College back in November last year.
The 1,000 new saplings that were plating comprised of a variety of native woodland species, including Oak, Birch, Blackthorn, and Wild Cherry.
During the past year, more than 65,000 trees have been planted by Premier’s customers, all of whom have participated and engaged in Premier’s Carbon Capture scheme, which has helped to capture some 11,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, a unique environmental achievement.
Commenting on this latest tree planting day of action, Premier Paper Group, Marketing Executive, Brad Goldsmith, stated, “There is an immense sense of achievement in braving the elements, to plant a significant number of trees that will help regenerate this beautiful woodland. This is a great example of how customers, who engage in our Carbon Capture programme make a real difference in creating habitats that are vital to both wildlife and people.”
This National Nature Reserve comprises of three adjacent sites – Yarner Woods, Trendlebere Down and the Bovey Valley Woodlands. The main habitats present are ancient woodland and heathland. The woodland is dominated by Oak, though other species are present including alder and willow in the wetter areas. Characteristic flowers of the woodland floor cow-wheat, bilberry and, where the soils are wetter, royal fern. Lichen and mosses are abundant. Breeding birds are typical of western oakwoods, and include pied flycatcher and redstart. Dormice breed at the site, and there is a rich invertebrate fauna, including the high brown fritillary butterfly. Trendlebere Down provides a glorious expanse of heathlands and valley mire habitat, typical of the Dartmoor fringe.