A project intended to revolutionise tree nursery practices has been nominated for a top sustainability award.

TreeTape, a new system of germinating and planting young trees with the goal of helping increase the number of viable seedlings grown from seed, has been nominated for the Sustainability Award at this year’s Scottish Public Services Awards.

A development partnership between CivTech, Forestry and Land Scotland and Cumbria Tree Growers, TreeTape has been trialled at a nursery in Newton, Near Elgin.

Using the new system, the FLS Newton nursery team was able to plant 1 million trees in one day against the current industry standard that sees a team of seven plant 60,000 trees in one day.

Josh Roberts, innovation manager with Forestry and Land Scotland, said: “Working with the Scottish Government’s CivTech team to harness and apply the lateral thinking skills of technological innovators to a range of forestry issues has been remarkably successful.

“TreeTape is the first of what we hope will be many successes but which in its own right will help ensure the continuity of tree supply that is required to meet the Scottish Government’s ambitious tree planting targets in response to the climate emergency.

READ MORE: TreeTape technology trial 'huge success'

“Initial trials have returned great results and has already garnered interest from around the world.

“A lot of people have contributed to this project – not least our local staff at the Newton Nursery – and to have found this solution to an age-old problem and have it be noted internationally is already a major achievement … but to be in the running for a Public Service Award is the icing on the cake.”

Michael Ashby, director and founder of TreeTape UK, said: “This has been a very rewarding experience that has let us bring our knowledge of agricultural techniques to a new field. Everyone involved has learned a lot from each other and as well as having huge potential for forestry, this project will open up new markets for us.

“To have our collective efforts recognised with this nomination for a public service award is a fantastic achievement.”

Barbara Mills, CivTech programme manager, said: “The FLS and TreeTape challenge is great example of what can be achieved when an organisation embraces innovation to tackle a challenge so key to sustainability and we are delighted it has been recognised through these awards.

“The combination of the expertise of the Forestry and Land Team and the completely different approach Tree Tape brought to looking at this challenge has resulted in a completely new approach to the early-stage production of trees at scale through forest nurseries. It has the potential to be transformative for the whole sector and the CivTech programme is delighted to have supported such a fantastic initiative.”

The awards ceremony will take place online on Wednesday 16 December.

Forestry Journal remains dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and views from across our industry, plus up-to-date information on the impacts of COVID-19.

Please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £69 for 1 year – or consider a digital subscription from just £1 for 3 months.

To arrange, follow this link: https://www.forestryjournal.co.uk/subscribe/

Thanks – and stay safe.