Plymouth Tree Challenge


Following on from the successful creation and adoption of Plymouth’s Plan for Trees in March 2019, the steering group (including the Council, Plymouth Tree Partnership, National Trust, Plymouth Community Homes, Woodland Trust and Plymouth Open Space Network and others) have been working to kick start our delivery programme.

After receiving funding from the Woodland Trust’s Urban Tree Fund and the Postcode Lottery, we have developed a programme we have called the Plymouth Tree Challenge. The programme is an ambitious series of projects carried out over the course of 2019 and into 2020, designed to take the first steps towards achieving the Plan’s four guiding principles to care, enhance, promote and protect our urban forest.

#PlymouthTreeChallenge Campaign 2019-2020

This campaign will be supported by local Community Interest Company – Fotonow, and will run from August 2019 to February 2020.

The campaign aims to increase awareness of Plymouth’s trees by covering multiple case studies to promote the value of trees to the city and to communities, with a range of videos and infographics which tell the story of the projects as they progress through the campaign. The campaign will encourage all the Plan for Trees principles to care, enhance, promote and protect the trees of Plymouth, as well as educate on the wider context of their importance in terms of climate change, biodiversity loss, and tree disease management.

iTree Eco – Survey Project

An underpinning and fundamental element for our promote campaign and working with Exeter based consultancy – Treeconomics, this project will utilise local people-power to enable community volunteers, Plan for Trees partners, Council staff and green champions, and community tree wardens to complete more than 250 plot surveys of trees and shrub cover in the city. They surveys will be carried out throughout September and October 2019, over approximately 50 volunteer days. The data from the surveys will be used to calculate the value of Plymouth’s trees.

There will be twi phases to the project:

  1. Promote and protect existing tree cover – The data from the surveys will inform an i-Tree Eco report, which will set out a clear value of the ecosystem services that Plymouth’s trees provide. (See the Plan for Trees Delivery Programme for a summary of the provisioning, regulatory, supporting and cultural ecosystem services that trees provide).
  2. Enhance future tree cover – By identifying and understanding the potential planting space in Plymouth, the i-Tree Eco project will help to  influence planning decisions so that urban trees are at the heart of the city’s future.

Segrave Road Community Planting Project

This project seeks to demonstrate on the ground delivery by enhancing the tree canopy cover in a ward (Peverell) that has canopy cover less than the city average, and will contribute to increasing the overall canopy cover in Plymouth.

The project will be coordinated by Plymouth Tree Partnership, a charitable organisation that works with residents and in collaboration with Plymouth City Council to facilitate opportunities for the care and planting of trees in Plymouth. After site visits involving the community,  18 standard trees will be planted along the top of Segrave Road with support from the residents, some of whom have offered to help Care for their new trees by keeping an eye out for them as they establish. The trees will be mixed planting with carefully considered species to suit the ‘right tree in the right place, with the right care’ approach.

We hope that by involving the community we can better promote the benefits of street trees such as carbon capture, beauty and space for wildlife that urban trees have to offer. The project will also showcase how a caring culture in communities towards trees can be cultivated through such community engagement projects, and act to promote the Plymouth Tree Warden scheme.

Community Tree Nursery at Poole Farm

A new community tree nursery will be developed at Poole Farm - a local nature partnership hub in the north of the city. The project will support and encourage volunteers and schoolchildren to gather seeds from the local area, and care for them in order to grow tree stock from local provenance. As well the educational benefits and a further opportunity to promote and care for trees, this project will allow a facility to grow our city’s future trees to enhance tree cover in a more sustainable way, and reduce our carbon footprint.