CAIMBRIDGESHIRE-based tree nursery Barcham Trees has engaged consultancy Treeconomics to complete a ‘ground-breaking’ project which will help customers make a more informed choice when selecting trees from its catalogue.

Treeconomics has calculated an environmental efficiency rating which has been added to every tree species on the nursery.

By creating a tag for each tree in the Barcham nursery catalogue, it is now possible to illustrate exactly what each tree will be able to deliver in terms of carbon capture. Ratings range from the top environmental ‘A’ grade to the less contributing ‘E’ grade. The tags also show how long it will take, in years, before the tree will offset the carbon it took to grow, deliver and plant it. The idea behind this project was to help customers, most of which are public bodies, select trees which will help them achieve their specific carbon goals.

READ MORE: Barcham Trees: Why we became accredited under the Plant Healthy Certification Scheme​

Over the past ten years, data has been collected from UK tree species, and put through a software system called i-Tree Eco. This is a peer-reviewed, open-source software suite, developed by the United States Forestry Service, which is used to assess urban trees and calculate their benefits to society. This tool was used to calculate the carbon storage of each tree species and variety based on the expected DBH (diameter at breast height) a tree would reach within its lifetime. These values have been displayed graphically on individual tree tags, which indicate the carbon credit grade and the carbon capture potential of the species as it grows. Each tree in the nursery catalogue has received such a tag.

Mike Glover, managing director of Barcham Trees, commented: “We are delighted with the work that Treeconomics has done in classifying the range of trees we grow, this will make it easier for our customers to make informed planting decisions and maximise their ecological return on investment. This is very innovative work, and we hope it will help to bridge the gap between science and end user tree selection.”

Kenton Rogers, director of Treeconomics, concluded: “This is a fantastic first step in the environmental rating of nursery trees. In time, we will be expanding these tags to include other environmental factors, such as how much air pollution each tree is able to filter, amongst others.”