Three years and thousands of trees later, one of the biggest tree-planting initiatives ever seen in Jersey has now been completed.
The reforestation project at Mourier Valley began in 2019 with the aim of safeguarding biodiversity and offsetting carbon. Since then, almost 4,300 trees have been planted at the site on Jersey’s north coast, with the final 10 trees planted on Wednesday 9 February.
Working with the National Trust for Jersey and Jersey Trees for Life, the three-year planting project was funded by Jersey Electricity and Jersey Water. It has been the largest ever planting project the National Trust and Trees for Life have undertaken.
Hundreds of volunteers helped to cover the valley with 13 mainly native species, including 1,000 Common Oak, Ash, Sweet Chestnut, Hazel, Wild Cherry, Bird Cherry, Silver Birch, Larch, Sallow, selected to suit the exposed conditions, alongside Rowan, Scots Pine, Monterey Pine and Black Pine to provide additional resources for birds and local wildlife.
As well as helping to increase biodiversity and protect wildlife, the site will aid carbon sequestration in the longer term as Jersey seeks to become net-zero by 2050.
National Trust for Jersey CEO Charles Alluto said: ‘Unfortunately, woodland cover is sparse in Jersey. In 2010 tree cover was estimated at 7% compared with 12% in the UK and 28% in France. Many trees were felled during the Occupation and, when combined with the impact of Dutch Elm diseases and the Great Storm, this has led to a sparsity of mature woodland cover in the Island, which in turn has an impact upon our biodiversity.
‘The Trust acquired 40 vergées of arable land on the top of the eastern slopes of Mourier Valley in 2009 and planted over 8,000 hedging plants. In 2019 we had planned to plant 1,000 trees on the eastern edge of the valley to help restore the once wooded valley sides.
‘The funding from Jersey Electricity and Jersey Water, as well as our partnership with Trees for Life, took this restoration programme to a whole new level while providing an important, tangible carbon-offsetting focal point for Islanders now and for years into the future.’
Despite a setback in early January, when around 30 saplings at the site were damaged, Jersey Trees for Life Chairman Philip Taylor said the project had demonstrated the ‘impact’ you can have when organisations come together for the benefit of future generations.
But, he said, ‘The work does not stop here.’ A three-year maintenance period will now begin to care for the newly planted trees, with Jersey Trees for Life encouraging interested volunteers to get in touch.
‘This is just the start,’ he said. ‘There will be much maintenance and tree protection work to do over the coming years to ensure that this project fulfils its potential and delivers for the people of Jersey.’